Cool cloth, bath or shower
If the reaction is mild, simple measures such as a cool bath or shower may be all that is needed.
Since the skin reaction is caused by histamine release, most people benefit from taking antihistamines such as loratadine or cetirizine to ease the itch. They can be bought from a pharmacy or prescribed by a doctor or nurse practitioner.
Please note these medicines may cause drowsiness, so take care when driving or operating machinery.
Avoid the causes/triggers
If the cause is a specific food, food additive, shellfish, cosmetic or anything else, avoiding these foods or substances will reduce the risk of hives coming back again.
Also avoid anything that can make hives worse such as excessive heat, spicy foods or alcohol.
Aspirin and other NSAIDs should be avoided as they often make symptoms worse.
If the rash is widespread or you have any swelling of your mouth or airways, seek medical help urgently. You may need need adrenaline, steroid medicine and admitting to hospital to identify the cause and prevent life-threatening reactions.
Special diets aren’t usually useful in the management of hives.