My daughter and I woke rested, ate a big healthy breakfast, had our morning devotional, and finished all of our schoolwork without any tears. This is going to be a fabulous day! The fresh spring air and inviting sun were pleading us to come out and play, so we could not disappoint. After cleaning up our mess, we headed to the backyard for some outside fun of running and swinging.
Then, my daughter started getting bumps on her arms. She said the bumps were itchy and she wouldn’t stop scratching them.
After contacting her pediatrician, I was informed she had hives. You know, a manual for children would be nice. It doesn’t have to cover absolutely everything, just the main important tidbits so one is prepared for common ailments.
We proceeded to the store to buy Children’s Zyrtec, which was recommended by her pediatrician. Although the medicine did work within a couple of hours, I sought out to find more information on hives and if there were any natural remedies available.
Come to find out, hives is another name for Urticaria, which are swollen red bumps on the skin. They can appear suddenly and for no reason at all. Well, that definitely did not help me. After further research, I found out some common reasons for their appearance are: allergic reactions (i.e., food), insect bites, sunlight exposure, and medications. Hives can itch, burn, or sting and can appear anywhere on the body, including the tongue and throat, which can be deadly.
Be sure to keep a close eye on the hives and if there are any around the eyes or mouth seek medical attention immediately!
There are actually four types of hives:
- Acute Urticaria lasts less than six weeks and the most common causes are foods, medicines, infections, insect bites, and internal disease. This is the type my daughter had, thank goodness. Note: It is recommended to keep air purifying plants in your home, such as the Lady Palm. This will reduce airborne toxins inside of your house. The best places to place them are the dining room, living room, kitchen, and office.
- Chronic Urticaria and Angioedema lasts longer than six weeks and the cause is more difficult to determine. Her pediatrician told me if the hives lasted longer than six weeks she would have to undergo testing to find the root problem. Therefore, detective work has to be done by both you and your doctor to find the root problem. Note: If you have chronic hives, keeping an EpiPen with you may be necessary in case you have anaphylaxis shock (a serious allergic reaction which is fast and can cause death). Talk to your doctor to see if he/she recommends this.
- Physical Urticaria is when physical stimulation of the skin is the cause of these hives. An example is bumps on your skin where your pants rub after exercise.
- Dermatographism are formed after the skin is rubbed or scratched. It is a form of Physical Urticaria.
According to her doctor, you should continue to take an antihistamine daily (dosage should be recommended by your doctor) until you no longer have outbreaks. This can be up to six weeks or longer. Seeing my daughter is with me 24/7, I chose to give her medication only when she had an outbreak. The Children’s Zyrtec was not kind to her stomach, which is why I chose this method. This worked well for her.
Her body reaction to the medication made me even more determined to find natural remedies. Seeing she was going to need this for weeks, or longer, it was important to me to find a natural alternative, if possible. After contacting her pediatrician and coming up empty handed for natural remedies, I began to do my own research. Below are the natural remedies I found. Note: Always contact your doctor or herbalist before trying anything.
Tips to find the root of the problem:
- Keep a daily diary and the reactions you have each day. This can help you figure out the root problem. Log everything you eat, drink, medication(s) you take, places you go, and the weather. You can find free templates here at Scattered Squirrel.
- Shellfish, nuts, chocolate, fish, tomatoes, eggs, fresh berries, and milk are some of the common foods that cause hives. You should remove these from your diet. Note: You should remove them one at a time instead of all at once. This way you know which one it is. Wait at least a week to see if the hives go away before moving to the next food.
- The common drugs that cause hives are: antibiotics, NSAIDs (i.e., ibuprofen), sedatives, tranquilizers, diuretics, diet supplements, antacids, arthritis medications, vitamins, eye drops, ear drops, laxatives, and douches. Note: You should remove them one at a time instead of all at once. This way you know which one it is. Wait at least a week to see if the hives go away before moving to the next medication. And always check with your doctor before stopping medication!
- Stress can also be a root cause of hives. A deep breathing exercise, such as yoga, is one method to help alleviate stress. There are great morning, afternoon, and evening yoga exercises available on DVD that are only 15 minutes long. Definitely doable! You can even find free short videos on YouTube.
Natural remedies for itching:
- Soak in a warm (not hot!) oatmeal bath to soothe the itching. You can purchase oatmeal bath packets from the store or make your own. Making your own is quite simple and you ensure you are getting just pure oatmeal, no other unnecessary ingredients. Directions: Put a cup of organic oatmeal in a food processor (I use Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Rolled Oats). Once the oatmeal is finely chopped, put the entire cup in a lukewarm bath. Soak for 20 minutes then rinse with warm water.
- Use a cold compress on the hives to relieve itching. The cold from the compress will shrink the blood vessels thus preventing further release of histamine in the body.
- Apply Calamine lotion to the hives. This can be purchased at the store and helps stop the itching. Great for chicken pox too!
- Make a baking soda and water paste to relieve itching. Directions: Put two tablespoons of baking soda in a bowl. Slowly add water until you make a paste. Apply the paste to the hives. Leave on for 10 minutes then rinse with warm water. Alternatively, you can put 1 cup of baking soda in a warm bath. Soak for 20 minutes then rinse with warm water.
- Vinegar and water is another natural remedy to help aid in itch relief. Directions: Put 1 teaspoon of vinegar and 1 teaspoon of water into a bowl. Soak a cotton ball with the mixture. Rub the cotton ball over the hives. Allow to air dry.
Natural herbs and supplements (always contact your doctor or herbalist before starting treatment):
- Nettle is a common herb which is used as an alternative to an antihistamine. Contact an herbalist near you for proper dosage amounts. The type of hives you have will determine the amount of nettle you will need.
- Coleus Forskohlii is another herb used to reduce histamine release.
- Quercetin supplement is used to block histamine release. Some research suggests it is more effective than prescription drugs.
- Rutin is another supplement used to reduce inflammation and swelling.
- Fish oil supplements or cold water fish, such as salmon, have anti-inflammatory properties. Be cautious of this remedy seeing fish can be a common cause of hives!
Although I pray you never have to deal with hives, at least you are now fully armed with remedies to help you win the battle.
What remedies have worked for you?