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Articles : A to Z Conditions (including Pertussis)
Treatment of Hives and Mild Allergic Reactions: Back to Articles
by Lauren Feder, M.D.

Excerpt from Natural Baby and Childcare

Conventional Treatment
Standard treatment for hives begins with  an over-the-counter antihistamine, such as Benadryl. . Atarax, also an antihistamine, is available by prescription.  Antihistamines reduce the itching. Side effects for benadryl include drowsiness, dizziness, stomach upset, irritability, and dry mouth.  Atarax can also cause drowsiness and dry mouth. Higher doses of Atarax my cause twitches and convulsion. For severe reactions such as closing of the throat and difficulty breathing go to the emergnecy room. Severe symptoms are treated with epinephrine.

Home Treatment
Most of the cases of hives I see in the office result from antibiotics given for infections – most of which could have been easily treated with natural remedies, without the side effects!  For chronic cases of hives, consider working with a practitioner in the natural healing arts for preventive treatment and constitutional strengthening.

Oatmeal Baths can be soothing for children with hives, as well as relieve dry skin, minor burns, and other sources of itchy rashes. Commercially prepared packets of colloidal oatmeal can be purchased or you can easily make your own.  (Colloid means that the oatmeal has been pulverized into a fine powder so that it is completely absorbed in the water.)

To make your own, place 1 cup of unflavored oatmeal (slow or quick) in blender, processor, or grinder.  Place at high setting until oatmeal is ground into a fine powder.  As a test, stir 1 tablespoon into a glass of warm water and stir. You know you have blended it long enough when the water turns milky and feels silky.  With the tub of running water, slowly sprinkle in the blended oatmeal.  Use 1/3 cup for infants, and 1 cup for children. With your hand make a figure eight in the tub to insure dispersion.  Be careful as the tub will be slippery!  Soak up to 15 minutes, using 1 to 3 times a day as needed.

Homeopathic Remedies

Apis mellifica is an excellent remedy for hives where complaints of burning, stinging, and puffiness predominate. The rash may have extreme swelling, with the area red, raised, and warm.  One of the keynotes of Apis is relief with cold applications. Apis is the most common remedy I use following an allergic drug rash, and is also one of the remedies indicated for anaphylactic shock.

Carbolic acid is used for extreme symptoms such as anaphylaxis, collapse, and swelling of face and tongue, especially after an insect sting, or hives with burning and itching sensations and blisters that cover the body, especially the hands. 

Rhus toxicodendron is indicated for hives with small blisters that are intensely itchy with prickly, burning pain. The child may also experience a feeling of bodily stiffness, which is alleviated by moving around and frequently changing position.  Rhus rashes feel better with scalding hot water, and worse in the cold.

Urtica urens comes from the stinging-nettle plant. It is often used for reactions to shellfish, but also for hives following insect bites, stings, and from becoming overheated.  The skin stings, prickles, burns, and itches violently.  Urtica urens is also used for first- and second-degree burns.  The hives feel worse with cold.

Gemmotherapy Remedies

Black Currant, a gemmotherapy remedy, has strong anti-inflammatory properties and is indicated for allergies and urticaria. 

European Alder, used with Black Currant, is also helpful for hives. Use together three times a day.

Bach Flower Remedies

Rescue Remedy can be used for agitation Place 2 drops in a glass of water and sip as needed. 

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