Itchy hives can be relieved by applying cool, wet compresses to the area and taking baths sprinkled with baking soda, uncooked oatmeal or colloidal oatmeal, according to Mayo Clinic. Avoiding rough, tight clothing made of scratchy materials such as wool can also help prevent the skin from becoming irritated.
An over-the-counter antihistamine may be helpful in reducing or alleviating itching, states Mayo Clinic. The best way to prevent itchy hives is to determine and avoid triggers, which can range from foods or medications to pollen, pet dander and insect stings.
Topical therapies and creams for hives are not as effective as antihistamines or oral steroids, warns MedicineNet. These creams often include camphor, menthol or other substances that numb the nerve endings to reduce itching. Cortisone creams are not usually effective at reducing itching.
Severe allergic reactions to triggers such as bee stings or certain foods may require the patient to carry at least two epinephrine kits at all times, according to WebMD. Epinephrine can treat anaphylaxis and associated hives. Persistent and recurring hives that last for a month may be a warning symptom for an underlying chronic condition. Hives that develop in the throat require medical attention to avoid risking suffocation, while hives accompanied by difficulty breathing, nausea, dizziness and other symptoms indicate anaphylaxis and require immediate medical attention.