Hives, or urticaria, are raised, pink, itchy bumps that develop on the skin. They usually occur in response to an allergic reaction, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, but infection, stress, cold and other causes are possible. Individual hives typically last for a few hours, with new hives appearing as older ones fade away. According to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology, as many as 1 in 5 people experience hives at least once during their lifetime.
Determine the underlying cause of your hives before attempting to get rid of them. The American Academy of Dermatology states that eliminating the source of the reaction is the best treatment available. Allergy testing, blood work and other diagnostic procedures may be necessary to uncover the reason for your hives.
Eliminate any sources of stress from your life if anxiety or stress is causing or contributing to your facial hives. Leaning new methods for coping with stress or taking medications designed to ease anxiety may help get rid of hives on your face.
Apply ice packs or cold compresses to your face to help ease inflammation and control itching. The Mayo Clinic also suggests adding colloidal oatmeal or baking soda to a tub of cool water and lying in the water to reduce your body temperature and relieve itching.
Take an over-the-counter antihistamine to treat hives on your face. According to the Mayo Clinic, antihistamines, such as diphenhydramine and chlorpheniramine, work by blocking the release of histamine in the body. Over-the-counter antihistamines tend to cause significant drowsiness, a side effect that may limit their daytime usefulness.
Try a prescription-strength antihistamine or other medication if your facial hives fail to respond to over-the-counter drugs. Loratadine, fexodenadine, hydroxyzine and cetirizine may help get rid of severe cases of hives. These medications typically cause less sedation than over-the-counter antihistamines, according to the American College of Osteopathic Dermatology.
Visit your doctor for a short course of an oral corticosteroid medication to reduce swelling and lessen itching. These medications are typically taken for three to five days to reduce the severity of acute cases. They may cause severe side effects and immune system dysfunction if taken over long periods.
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When accompanied by trouble breathing, throat swelling or other signs of a severe allergic reaction, hives are a medical emergency and require immediate evaluation and treatment by a medical professional.