Hives is a skin condition characterized by itchy, raised white bumps called wheals that are surrounded by a reddish area. It is also known as welts or nettle rash and can be limited to one part of the body or spread across large areas of the body.
The affected area of skin will typically change within 24 hours, and usually the rash will settle within a few days. If it clears completely within six weeks, it is known as acute urticaria.
Less commonly, the rash can persist or come and go for longer than six weeks, often over the space of many years. Doctors refer to this as chronic urticaria.
The main symptom of urticaria is a red, raised, itchy rash.
The rash is made up of raised marks in the skin that are known as weals or hives. They are usually very itchy and range in size from a few millimetres to the size of a hand.
Individual weals normally fade after a few hours, but can be replaced by new ones elsewhere on the body. They may appear on just one part of the body or across a large part of it. The skin returns to normal as soon as the weal fades.
Pattern of symptoms
Most cases of urticaria are temporary (acute urticaria). The rash appears quickly, becomes most severe after 8–12 hours and then normally resolves within 24 hours (although it can occasionally persist for 48 hours).
The pattern of symptoms in chronic hives can be unpredictable.
One small survey found that around half of people with chronic urticaria have outbreaks of symptoms that last for 6–12 weeks followed by times where their symptoms improve or go away all together (remission).
Certain triggers such as stress or alcohol can make symptoms worse. Read about the triggers of urticaria.
The same survey found that 1 in 10 people had persistent symptoms of urticaria that lasted all year round.
Symptoms of chronic urticaria are often most troublesome in the evening, which can make falling asleep difficult.
When to seek medical advice
You should visit your licensed health practitioner if your symptoms do not resolve within 48 hours.
Also contact your doctor if you have severe symptoms that are causing distress and disrupting your daily activities.
Urticaria is usually caused by the release of histamine and other chemicals from under the skin’s surface, causing the tissues to swell.
An immediate attack is known as acute urticarial, and in around 50 per cent of cases, the triggers are unknown. But common triggers include:
- an allergic reaction to food, such as peanuts, shellfish, eggs and cheese
- an allergic reaction to environmental factors such as pollen, dust mites or chemicals
- an allergic reaction to latex, which can be a common problem in healthcare workers
- infections, which can range from relatively trivial such as a cold to very serious such as HIV
- insect bites and stings
- emotional stress
- some medications, which can cause urticaria as a side effect, including antibiotics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), aspirin, and antihistamines
- physical triggers, such as pressure to the skin, change in temperature, sunlight, exercise or water
Chronic or long-term urticaria may start when your body’s immune system attacks its own tissues. This is known as an auto-immune reaction. Antibodies (proteins that usually fight bacteria and viruses) then trigger the release of histamine.
This produces urticaria. It is thought that about a third to half of chronic urticaria cases are autoimmune.
It is not known why autoimmune urticaria develops, although it can often develop in combination with other autoimmune conditions such as:
- rheumatoid arthritis – the immune system attacks the joints
- lupus – the immune system attacks the joints and skin, and people usually feel very tired all the time
In rarer cases, chronic urticaria can also be caused by other chronic illnesses and infections, such as an underactive thyroid gland or overactive thyroid gland, viral hepatitis (liver infection) or intestinal parasites.
Chronic urticaria often comes and goes. Many people find that certain things make it reappear or make existing symptoms worse. These triggers include:
- warm temperatures
- prolonged pressure on the skin (for example, from tight clothing)
- medications such as NSAIDs, the painkiller codeine and ACE inhibitors (used to treat high blood pressure)
- certain food additives such as salicylates, which are found in tomatoes, orange juice and tea
- insect bites and stings
- exposure to heat, cold, pressure or water
Identify and avoid all foods to which you are allergic or sensitive. To minimize the occurrence of hives, eat a varied diet and avoid eating the same foods more than more than once or twice each week.
- Do not consume any artificial sweeteners, such as Splenda, NutraSweet or Aspartame
- Do not consume high fructose corn syrup or mono-sodium glutamate.
- Do not drink any carbonated beverages.
- Avoid all fast food restaurants.
- Avoid all canned food.
- Eliminate conventional dairy products. The best dairy products are raw, unpasteurised and homogenised dairy from grass fed cows. If this is unavailable, then buy organic dairy.
- Avoid conventional beef. The best beef is organic grass fed beef.
www.grasslandbeef.com The second best is organic meat; this includes beef, veal, lamb, chicken and turkey.
Hydrochloric acid secretions in the stomach are usually low in people with hives. Vitamin B complex deficiency is also common among hives patients. Therefore, supplementing with betaine hydrochloric acid (HCL) and vitamin B complex is highly recommended. Pancreatic enzymes taken three to four times daily on empty stomach, especially during the initial attack of hives, is also helpful, as are bromelain and vitamin C (also taken away from meals).
During a hives outbreak, take two tablets of bicarbonate soda in water, and sip every 15 minutes until symptoms ease.
To prevent a recurrence of hives, supplement with bioflavonoids and pantothenic acid, vitamin B complex, vitamin B6, and essential fatty acids.
- Take Vitamin D3 50,000-100,000 International Units a day for a period of up to 4 weeks.
Prescription and non-prescription medication:
What non-prescription and prescription drugs are you taking? Your non-prescription and prescription are partially the reason that you have this illness or disease – you need to get off these medications but do so only under the guidance of a licensed health care practitioner.
We know that when the body is out of balance, energy doesn’t flow, leading blockages and eventually disease. Here are some things you can do to combat stress and restore balance:
- Go to a Dr Morter BEST (Bio-Energetic Synchronisation Technique) Practitioner.
- Sign up for Energetic Re-Balancing: 2 practitioners to consider are:
- Stephen Lewis, founder of the Aim Program. Find out more by clicking here.
- . Find out more by clicking here.
- Consider using Mary Millers Iching System Products – ichingsystemsinstruments.com
- Reiki healing is very powerful in releasing stress and emotional baggage. Find a practitioner here.
- Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) has had remarkable results in dissolving stress. Find a local practitioner here or go to www.thetappingsolution.com or www.tftrx.com
- Try Hypnotherapy to relax the mind. Find a practitioner here.
- Alphabiotics www.alphabiotics.biz
Beware the dangers of hair dyes: www.naturalnews.com/035820_hair_dyes_PPD_chemicals.html
The hives diet: www.ehow.com/way_5175721_cure-hives-diet.html
Ayurveda home remedies: www.youtube.com/watch?v=CgChjMD3bbs
Treat chronic hives with Vitamin D says university study: www.naturalnews.com/031006_hives_vitamin_D.html
Effectiveness of butterbur: www.naturalnews.com/032560_butterbur_allergies.html
Further Information (links and books)
Understanding Histamine Intolerance: A food intolerance with allergy-like symptoms by Mariska de Wild-Scholten
Wendy Maddocks [email protected] – skin care
Andrea Butje | Aromahead [email protected] – aromatherapy
Carrie Vitt [email protected] – organic food recipes.
David Spector-NSR/USA [email protected] – meditation, stress
Judith Hoad [email protected] – herbalist.
Kath May [email protected] – reiki, tai chi.
Lillian Bridges [email protected] – Chinese medicine, living naturally.
Monika [email protected] – aromatherapy.
Rakesh [email protected] – Ayurvedic Practitioner.