Tag Archives: allergic reactions

Hives and Antihistamines

As we mentioned in previous posts, hives, also known as urticaria and angioedema, usually go away on their own.  However, antihistimines can be used to ease the swelling of hives and prevent further breakouts of hives.  Why do antihistimines work? First, let’s define how antihistamines work and then let’s look at it in a simple example.  In fact, let’s use a full out example of how to retrace your steps, find the cause, and then find the cure for your hives breakout.

First, let’s learn about antihistamines… When your body senses a threat your immune system sends off signals.  These signals trigger chemical reactions that involve hormones and antibodies.  When it’s all said and done, your body releases a chemical called histamine from your cells.  The histamine causes the reactions to the allergies such as swelling of the skin and the itching sensation you feel.  Contrary to what some people will have you believe, antihistamines don’t actually block the histamine itself.  Instead, the antihistamines block the histamine receptors so you won’t have the symptoms anymore.

antihistamines for hives

The truth is that sometimes antihistamines work with hives and sometimes they don’t.  For some people they will work for a while and then suddenly stop.  Doctors and physicians often prescribe steroids to treat hives when antihistamine treatments fail to get rid of the hives.  Now let’s move on to a good example…

Let’s say you break out in hives after a big meal.  You should look back at each thing you ate.  You can then start eliminating food items that have never caused you problems before… so you had a cheeseburger, fries, and a strawberry shortcake for dessert.  You’ve eaten cheeseburgers and fries hundreds of times with no problems so you can eliminate them.  But it’s been quite a while since you had strawberry shortcake.  AHA!  Strawberries contain a chemical that can cause body cells to release histamine.  That histamine that gets released can cause an allergic reaction that leads to the forming of hives.  To counter the histamine you naturally need an antihistamine.

So to cure the hives you take an antihistamine.  To keep from irrating the skin welts avoid hot water, cold temperatures, exposure to too much sunlight, and tight clothes.  Your hives should disappear in no time!  For more hives information read the previous posts.