Hives, otherwise known as urticaria, are the outward symptoms of cellular inflammation caused by any number of irritations and chronic conditions.
For some hives can be a mild skin irritation that will disappear without treatment in the first few hours after the original outbreak or irritation, if left alone that is. An example would be the type of inflammation caused by a bug bite or sting, that if not scratched and irritated further will go away.
However, not all outbreaks of hives are mild.
Should someone have an allergy to an insect or bee, the hives can be severe and accompanied by more severe complications such as anaphylaxis. However, for most the causes of the hives are not deadly and merely indicative of exposure to a chemical or some other environmental factor that you may be allergic to.
If the outbreak is small and caused by an allergy, then an oral antihistamine will work to reduce the symptoms, and that includes hives and other skin irritations. Try a mild antihistamine such as Benadryl, but if the hives and other symptoms do not reduce after 48 hours you should see a doctor who can either prescribe a higher dose, or perhaps look for other underlying causes of the outbreak.
For those who have extreme cases of hives to the point where they spread into a large mass of raised wheals, a doctor may prescribe corticosteroids as a hives treatment to reduce the swelling.
There are topical remedies for hives that will relieve the irritation and inflammation of many types of the condition. Depending on the brand and ingredients this may or may not be effective for EVERY case of urticaria.
There are many types of creams, gels and lotions on the market which will soothe the skin and reduce itching long enough to keep hands from scratching and irritating the outbreak further. Most pharmacy bought remedies will contain arnica montana, camphor, aloe, or menthol.
Fortunately, they do not require prescriptions and when used with an antihistamine should go a long way towards providing relief to this annoying skin condition.
For more detailed information about hives check out http://arehivescontagious.com