Doctors do not typically recommend major diet changes to treat chronic hives, or urticaria, because it is difficult to avoid the wide variety of foods containing the pseudoallergens that can trigger outbreaks, states Mayo Clinic. These foods include a variety of fruits, vegetables, seafood, eggs and spices. Some common food additives and other preservatives can trigger flare-ups as well. Doctors do, however, recommend less alcohol consumption, as alcohol increases blood flow to the skin surface, which exacerbates symptoms.
A patient who wishes to adjust a diet to treat the symptoms of chronic urticaria should first consult a doctor and then keep a daily log of food intake and flare-ups, explains Mayo Clinic. Patients may have some success avoiding foods that correspond highly with outbreaks. The pseudoallergens common in food do not themselves cause hives, as the body does not create a true allergenic response to these substances by producing antibodies, but they do trigger the production of histamine, which increases blood flow to the skin.
In addition to over-the-counter and prescription medications, such as antihistamines, patients can manage symptoms by avoiding irritants such as tight, heavy clothing and scented soaps, according to Mayo Clinic. Patients also should avoid abrasion from rubbing or scratching the site of an outbreak and instead use a hypoallergenic lotion, cool cloth or fan to sooth any discomfort.