Hives, also known as urticaria, are raised welts (wheals) that appear on the skin when mast cells degranulate and release histamine and other chemical mediators. These welts can remain flesh coloured, or appear pink or red. They can itch or not, and sometimes pain is associated with them as well.
Hives can be the result of an allergic reaction.
What about when you have chronic hives, you get them frequently, or maybe you just get them occasionally but have no idea why? If you have gone through allergy testing and come up empty handed, then consider that histamine intolerance or mast cell activation may play a role.
Knowing what your triggers are and doing your best to avoid them is an important strategy.
Some of the things that can trigger hives include:
- high histamine foods
- high salicylate foods
- heat or cold exposure
- pressure on your skin from tight clothing
- friction from scratching or clothing that rubs against your skin
When you get hives from pressure or friction on your skin this is also known as dermatographism or dermatographic urticaria or skin writing.
Tips to Help
Check out our Shopping List for a list of foods that help you to stabilize your mast cells. Everything on that list is low in lectins, nightshades and histamine. If you know that salicylates are an issue for you, then you’ll be excited for our upcoming cookbook where we provide you with low salicylate variations for our recipes.
Avoid temperature extremes, direct sunlight, vibrations and stress if you know these are triggers for your hives.
Wear loose fitting, soft clothing if you get hives from your clothing. Avoid vigorous towel drying after your bath or shower – just pat yourself dry.
Be mindful of the type of fibres in your clothes, towels and bedding. Does wool give you hives? A feather duvet?
What are you washing your clothes, towels and bedding in? Choose a simple, natural laundry detergent to reduce skin exposure to chemicals.
What about your personal care products? Work at switching those out with more natural alternatives, and lowering possible irritants in order to reduce further skin exposure to these chemicals.
The Environmental Working Group has some great resources. Check them out at ewg.org and have a look through their resources to help you find clean body care, cosmetic and household products.