You know how itchy hives can be if you’ve ever experienced an allergic reaction. Also called urticaria, hives are welts on your skin due to a virus, infection, or allergic reaction. The Allergy Institute also notes that hives can result from stress, exercise, or sunlight. The itch can be so intense that the urge to scratch is nearly painful. Some types of hives can also sting, in addition to itching.
Hives appear when the body releases histamines, chemicals that the body uses as a line of defense against infections. Hives can come in different shapes and sizes, from tiny pumps to large welts. The Cleveland Clinic states they might also join together to form a plaque. Thankfully, hives are typically acute, meaning they hit when exposed to an allergen or stress and only last a few hours. But some people have chronic hives, which can last weeks.
It’s natural to want to scratch hives when they itch so badly, and some can get hit with this urge worse than others. However, preventing yourself from scratching your hives is a must, since this act can cause them to spread, leading to a more intense itch. Try taking a lukewarm bath, applying ice packs, slathering on anti-itch ointment, or even wearing gloves if necessary. The Allergy Institute also mentions witch hazel and aloe vera for natural relief.