Hives tend to fade on their own, usually within a few hours to a few days after the outbreak, according to WebMD. Prescription and non-prescription antihistamines, oral corticosteroids and epinephrine injections for severe cases can help ease symptoms.
Cool compresses, adding oatmeal or baking soda to a bath and protecting the skin from damage due to scratching are other ways to cope with an outbreak of hives, notes HowStuffWorks. Applying ice to the affected area for 10 to 15 minutes at a time, three to four times a day, is also helpful. Cool compresses may be placed directly on the skin, but ice packs should be wrapped in cloth to prevent frostbite.
Both baking soda and oatmeal added to a warm bath can provide significant relief from itching. HowStuffWorks recommends adding 1/2 to 1 cup of baking soda and 1 to 2 cups of oatmeal to a bath to soothe the skin.
Protecting the skin from damage due to scratching is important, states HowStuffWorks. Scratching causes tiny tears in the skin which can lead to infection. Scratching also leads to more itching, setting off an uncomfortable cycle. Sufferers should wear cotton gloves, mittens or oven mitts to reduce damage to the skin caused by scratching.