Mild to moderate hives are generally treated with antihistamines, while chronic hives may require prescription medications such as cortisones, antibacterial agents and products that fight swelling, redness and inflammation, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. The most severe cases may require a shot of adrenaline, or epinephrine. A doctor should be consulted right away if a hives outbreak is accompanied by wheezing, dizziness, chest tightness, difficulty breathing, or swelling in the lips, face or tongue.
Hives are usually diagnosed by a physical exam and visual inspection of the area of the outbreak, as there is not a specific test that identifies hives. Skin tests can be administered to determine if the hives are due to allergens, rather than a systemic illness, notes WebMD. Overall, the most effective way to fight hives is to identify what is triggering them, and eliminate that cause.
In addition to taking medication to ease the symptoms of hives, wet cloths or cool compresses can be applied to affected areas. Sleeping and working in cool rooms can also help, as can wearing loose-fitting clothing made from lightweight material.