Treatments for autoimmune or chronic hives include over-the-counter antihistamines and anti-inflammatory medicines. If the doctor discovers the underlying cause for chronic hives, he treats that condition instead of the hives themselves, according to Mayo Clinic.
Doctors recommend non-drowsy types of antihistamine medicines for treating chronic hives. These are second-generation antihistamine drugs, and they have less side effects than older versions, explains Mayo Clinic. Taking this type of medication daily helps block the release of histamine that causes the hives. Examples of certain medicines in this category include Allegra, Claritin, Alavert and Zyrtec.
Second-generation antihistamines don't work for everyone. If this is the case, the doctor may recommend taking first-generation antihistamines, such as Benadry and Vistaril, says Mayo Clinic. It is best to take this type of medication before bed because it is likely to cause drowsiness. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding need to check with a doctor before taking these medications.
Some lifestyle and home remedies for chronic hives include wearing loose and light clothing, avoiding the use of harsh soaps, and cooling the area with a fan or soothing lotion. Some additional home remedies are avoiding known triggers and keeping a journal of hive outbreaks to help determine the specific triggers, suggests Mayo Clinic.