How To Treat A Stress Rash
The brain has powerful effects on the body, and prolonged stress, anxiety, and other factors can manifest in an unpleasant stress reaction. Add to that preexisting skin conditions, and you have the recipe for a potentially severe and uncomfortable skin flare-up.
Everyone is different, so the impact, level of irritation, and treatment routines can vary depending on life and personal circumstances. The COVID-19 pandemic, in particular, has put the entire world on edge. Some of that stress is undoubtedly making its way into your daily life in some unpleasant ways.
While stress-related skin disorders may seem severe, there are multiple ways to deal with them. Let’s learn more about stress rashes, then see which is the best treatment for them.
Chronic Hives: Causes And Symptoms
People with less frequent hives outbreaks are categorized as having recurrent hives, and it can be acute or chronic hives. By contrast, chronic hives will last longer than six weeks. Chronic hives can also be caused from infections, drugs, foods, and other allergies. On the other hand, there may be other secondary causes of a chronic hives case.
The following are some potential causes of chronic hives:
Medical Treatment And Options
Though hives can be itchy, painful, uncomfortable, frustrating, and may cause increased anxiety in some people, there is hope. Many cases of hives can be successfully managed through the use of antihistamines or a combination of drugs, depending on the cause/trigger and severity of symptoms. If antihistamines alone do not fully provide relief, your physician may add oral corticosteroids to your medication regimen. For more moderate to severe cases of urticaria, epinephrine may be prescribed to extinguish a very severe uncontrollable flare. A biologic drug called omalizumab may also be prescribed as a long term treatment to control severe hives.
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What Is A Stress Rashand Can Stress Cause Hives
“A stress rash is any skin flare-up that stress can trigger,”Debra Jaliman, MD, a New York-based dermatologist, tells Health. “If you’re under a lot of stress, you can get hives, for example, or you could get an exacerbation of any skin rash that you already have.”
Hives, also known as urticaria, according to the Amercan Academy of Dermatology are itchy welts that can vary in size and appear anywhere on the body. “Stress hives typically look like swollen little mosquito bites,”Rachel Nazarian, MD, a New York-based dermatologist tells Health. “They’re slightly raised, swollen red or pink patches on the skin but depending on your skin tone they might look a little different.”
Aside from the possibility of hives, your stress rash could look like a flare-up of your psoriasis, eczema, rosacea, among others. Depending on your skin condition, related stress rashes will show up in the same spot and manneranywhere you’re exposed to your unique allergens or triggers, or where your body is particularly hot, moist, or feeling pressure like a waistband, bra strap, or arm creases.
But whatever type of stress rash you’re experiencing, you’re not alone everyone experiences stress, so stress rashes and hives are super common. According to the Cleveland Clinic, women are more likely to get stress rashes, and sometimes they don’t show up until she reaches her 30s, 40s, or 50s. And, of course, the more you’re exposed to stress, the more likely you are to experience a stress rash.
Home Remedies For Hives
As mentioned above, most cases of hives resolve within a few days and treatment will not significantly speed this up. However some cases can be annoyingly persistent and as a result the following treatments may be employed.
1.Antihistamines: As the name implies, these drugs will block the effect of histamine and ideally reduce the size and itchiness of the rash. This is not an advisable treatment for pregnant women unless specifically recommended by a doctor.
2.Corticosteroids: These will be used to reduce swelling, redness, and itching in cases of severe hives or instances of angioedema.
3.Epinephrine: A form of adrenaline used to treat anaphylactic reactions. Epinephrine is normally used by emergency room workers and similar medical personnel to treat cases of severe hives or angioedema. If you are prone to serious attacks you may be advised to carry a self-injection of epinephrine, commonly known as an EpiPen.
4.Avoid triggers: Taking steps to avoid triggers that you know can give you hives will both prevent the condition from reoccurring and prevent the aggravation of any existing outbreaks.
5.Cool compress: Applying a cold, wet compress will help ease swelling and reduce the itchiness.
6.Bath: A bath with baking soda, uncooked oatmeal, or colloidal oatmeal meant for the bathtub can help soothe outbreaks and make them more bearable.
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Symptoms And Duration Of Hives
Hives appear as a series of pink or red circular swellings, called wheals, which appear on the skin. They can be very tiny, up to several inches in diameter, and can also be extremely itchy. Wheals typically occur in groups along the face or extremities but can appear anywhere on the body including the tongue, lips, or ears. In the case of a contact allergen, they will often appear in the same location the allergen made contact but can end up spreading. Hives will be frequently itchy and in some cases will also burn or sting.
Most cases of hives will last roughly 48 hours before fading though some reactions have been known to persist for longer. If a case of hives lasts more than six weeks, the condition is considered chronic and means that there is likely an underlying immune disorder such as lupus or a thyroid disease. Roughly one in every 1,000 people with hives experience a chronic reaction.
What To Do If You Have A Stress Rash
The first step in treating a stress rash is to make the association between your stress and the rash itself, Bergquist says.
“Sometimes we don’t always make the connection between emotional stress and physical manifestation. And hives can be a way that we’re internalizing stress,” she says.
While a hive will typically go away in 24 hours, they can often reappear if you’re still in a high-stress state. If you think your hives are caused by stress, here’s what you can do to help get rid of them:
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How Is Stress Related To Hives
In order to illustrate how stress and hives are related, it is necessary to have an understanding of the body’s general response to stress. Webster’s Dictionary defines stress as, “any stimulus that disturbs or interferes with the normal physiological equilibrium of an organism.” According to Stanford professor Robert M. Sapolsky, “Stress may be the thing that takes a part of our body that was marginally damaged by exposure to God-knows-what sort of toxins and pushes it into overt disease.”
There is little doubt in the medical community that the mind and body are inextricably linked by a delicate biochemical equilibrium. Stress attacks homeostasis, causing the body to instinctually react to the potential danger by increasing the release of the hormones adrenaline and cortisol by the sympathetic nervous system. This reaction is referred to as “fight or flight” or an “adrenaline rush” in common terminology.
Ideally, the exposure to the stressor is eliminated and the endocrine and immune systems quickly restore hormonal balance and calm the brain down. Stress can serve as a catalyst for physical changes, either strengthening the body’s resilience or weakening its resistance to illness. Paradoxically, the added stress created when one is afflicted with disease perpetuates the illness, further weakening the immune system.
How To Get Rid Of Hives Fast
#1. Use The Over The Counter Medication OxyHives
Because it can take weeks to get an appointment, I always recommend my patients have OxyHives on hand for when they have an outbreak. It’s non-addictive, and unlike antihistamines, it won’t make you drowsy. Simply put two sprays under your tongue and the hives go away naturally within 1-2 hours. While OxyHives is the only treatment that is scientifically formulated to make your hives go away fast, there are other home remedies that can help at least lessen the itchy, burning feeling that hives causes.
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How Do I Get Rid Of Stress Hives
The first step in managing stress-related hives is taking steps to help manage stress, so stress isnt triggering the reaction in the first place.
Managing stress is easier said than done, of course. While there is not much data on stress-relieving activities that might specifically help hives, there is evidence that things like yoga, meditation, and exercise can help people with psoriasis, and theres evidence those stress-relieving activities can help with eczema, too.
And if those activities can help those skin conditions, its safe to assume they may also help with hives, too, Friedman says.
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Some people benefit from avoiding wool, irritating chemicals and fragrances, and harsh soaps, and by using emollients to hydrate the skin.
If stress is contributing to hives for you, then controlling stress can help. Not only does managing stress lessen the frequency or severity of hives, youll reap all the other physical, mental, and emotional benefits of coping well with the stress you face, Elmariah says.
Summary And How To Get Rid Of Stress Hives
So, how to get rid of stress hives? As you now know, stress can be caused by a variety of events in our environment and within us. Hives, or urticaria , result from the bodys immune system reacting to the stress with an overreaction which results in the release of histamine. This histamine is responsible for burning and itchy skin.
First of all, you need to look around and identify the likely sources of hives. You could be allergic to something, whether pollen dust, animal dander, or even certain foods like cows milk.
Also, remember that many people react to stress by releasing histamine. Therefore, its essential to keep your skin oil-free, because if you have a build-up of oil on your skin, you are more likely to get a rash.
Use a cold compress: The next thing we have to look at is how to treat stress-induced hives. You can treat your skin through the relief of your histamine reaction to apply a cold compress to the area. Stress is the bodys response to something it perceives as a threat if you think about it.
The skin tells the body to cool off and protect itself from the danger it will release histamine. A cold compress can bring immediate relief to this skin condition, but it is essential to remember that you are only treating the symptoms and not getting to the problems root cause.
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Living With Hives Can Certainly Contribute To Stress
Whether or not stress contributes to hives, the opposite is certainly true: Hives can add a significant amount of stress to people who are prone to them.
When somebody has chronic hives, the effect on their mental health and well-being can be dramatic, says Sarina Elmariah, MD, PhD, a board-certified dermatologist at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Because that person knows he may be uncomfortable and scratching himself scratching is a reflex, and if your skin is itching, youll scratch it, Dr. Elmariah adds that person might avoid certain social situations.
You often dont sleep well as a result of feeling discomfort like this, which can cause irritability and fatigue. At that point, it becomes a real challenge not only for patients, but often their families who have to learn to deal with the dynamics of somebody whos chronically uncomfortable, Elmariah says. This dynamic can create more challenges at home and in the workplace.
Why Do I Get Stress Induced Hives And How Do I Treat Them
Stress on its own is enough to deal with, but it brings with it a long list of possible side effects that you could experience. Some of the symptoms are ones that most people are familiar with and many experience. However, there are some symptoms like stress induced hives, that many people don’t associate with stress.
Hives can be connected to other medical conditions, so if you don’t realize that they can be related to stress it may be difficult to diagnose what’s causing them. And if you don’t know what’s causing them, it’s hard to determine the best way to treat them and find relief.
What are Hives?
Hives can be caused by many things. They can be a result of an allergy and can show up after doing things like changing laundry detergent or eating a food that you haven’t tried before.
Hives are a type of rash. They are large raised bumps that can be centralized on a certain area of your body or show up all over. They can be smaller in size but are typically larger than something like chicken pox. However, they can get very large like the size of dinner plates. They have the appearance of a welt.
While you may be embarrassed by the look of hives, the appearance is not the worse part. They can be uncomfortable and painful because they can burn, itch, and sting. And while they aren’t dangerous on their own, they probably aren’t something that you want to deal with.
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When Should I Seek Medical Advice
While most people can treat their stress skin rash at home, you may want to see your healthcare provider if you have any of the following:
- Your hives have yellow or green fluid in them or are very hard.
- You have areas of peeling skin or a fever or pain together with the skin rash.
- You just took antibiotics or another medication.
These are not stress rash symptoms and require medical attention.
If you have a preexisting skin or health condition like psoriasis, you may want to speak to your healthcare provider as soon as you see hives. You may need to adjust your medications or treatment.
If over-the-counter antihistamines dont work for treating your itching and hives, your healthcare provider may order prescription-strength antihistamines, oral steroids , or even antibiotics. If these dont work, the next step is seeing a dermatologist or an allergist.
Natural Remedies For Treating Hives Skin Rashes
In addition to taking medications, a person can treat their hives or skin rashes with home remedies. One key thing to remember is that you dont want to further irritate your skin. The goal is to calm inflammation. The website Top10HomeRemedies.com recommends natural things you can do to ease hives.
It recommends using a cold compress to block the body from producing and releasing more histamine. It is effective to use a cold compress as soon as you realize that a hive outbreak is happening.
- Baking soda is also recommended to ease inflammation and itching.
- Apple cider vinegar is said to relieve inflammation and help regulate the bodys immune system response.
- Oatmeal can relieve both the itching and inflammation and help the skin heal.
- Gingers anti-inflammatory properties make it ideal for easing inflammation and relieving swelling and itching.
- Aloe vera can also be applied to the affected area of the skin for 15 or so minutes before rinsing it off with lukewarm water. This aids in healing the skin and helps speed up recovery time. You can also drink aloe vera juice in small amounts to help the immune system heal.
- Turmeric has antioxidant and antihistamine properties that can help you recover from hive outbreaks. It can ease inflammation and swelling. Some people may need to consult with a doctor first before using turmeric, and people who use prescription blood thinners are advised to stay away from it.
Written by: Elysia Richardson
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Stress Worsening Existing Conditions
Stress can contribute to flare ups of other skin conditions.
It can also contribute to dyshidrotic eczema, which causes blisters on the hands and feet.
Stress levels may also trigger flares of skin conditions like psoriasis.
Stress is a common trigger for guttate psoriasis, which may cause small, red spots on children and adults with the condition.
Stress Hives In Pregnancy
Stress hives in pregnancy can be severe. Pregnancy causes various conditions to arise, including the usual morning sickness and exhaustion that most pregnant women experience. However, stress can also be a significant contributor to the symptoms of pregnancy-related conditions, notably because it can cause a womans immune system to malfunction.
When a pregnant woman experiences stress for prolonged periods, her body will begin to attack its tissues and organs. This reaction can result in dangerous consequences like an outbreak of acne, swollen lymph nodes or even increased premature birth risks. These are all points to consider if you are experiencing any of these symptoms as you prepare to become a mother.
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Final Thoughts On Hives Treatment
Hives are an unpleasant inflammatory skin condition that 20 percent of the population will experience at some point in time. Thankfully, hives typically are not serious, and hives treatment is available. With some simple natural remedies, you can calm a hives outbreak on yourself or your child quite quickly. Inexpensive, common household items like oatmeal, witch hazel and baking soda are really effective at calming the itching and redness that usually accompany hives. If your child experiences hives, you should make sure you arent using any harsh body care products on his or her skin. You should also avoid hot baths and tight-fitting clothes. I hope that you wont experience hives anytime soon, but if you do, a natural hives treatment will really come in handy.