Urticaria or hives is a common concern. Here, I have discussed the common causes and management of urticaria.
Urticaria is a skin disease consisting of a wheal and flare reaction. In urticaria, the localized wheal is surrounded by an area of redness that is typically itchy. In case of hives, a local increase of the permeability of the capillaries and small venules result in transient, erythematous or edematous swelling of the dermis or subcutaneous tissues. Cutaneous hives may last for 30 minutes to 24 hours.
If in an individual, the wheals or hives persist for more than 24 hours and also have joint pain and bruising, then it should be considered urticarial vasculitis.
Systemic symptoms like rhinitis, difficulty in breathing, sensation of heaviness in the chest, wheezing and abdominal pain may accompany the skin lesions and are indications for urgent treatment to avoid the complication of laryngeal edema.
Potential mediators of urticaria include histamine, prostaglandin D2, platelet activating factor, bradykinin, etc.
Urticaria can be classified into acute and chronic.
In all patients a detailed history gives better yield as regards the cause than a battery of investigations. Provocative tests for physical urticarias like ice cube test for cold urticaria, exercise test for cholinergic urticaria, stroking for dermographism, etc.
In selected patients, the need will arise to check the following blood tests. Complete blood count, ESR (erythrocyte sedimentation rate), urine analysis, stool examination for ova and cyst, blood chemistry profile, ANA (antinuclear antibody), hepatitis B and C antigens and antibodies, thyroid antibodies, cryoglobulins, CH 50, hereditary C1 esterase deficiency, plasma and erythrocyte protoporphyrins (solar urticaria), skin biopsy in urticarial vasculitis and IgE and IgE receptor antibody assay.
Avoidance of precipitating or provoking causes is curative in case of urticaria.
To get more information about urticaria or hives and its management consult a hives specialist online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/dermatologist/hives
The following includes the list of the most common causes of an urticaria reaction:
- Insect bites.
The round rashes can last for a varied amount of time in different individuals. Usually, the eruptions that are formed last only for a few minutes. Rarely, it might extend to several hours or several weeks to months. But most commonly, individuals who are affected with hives have a rash, not more than 24 hours.
Several infections can cause urticaria are:
- Throat infections such as streptococcus infection.
- Stomach and genitourinary tract infections.
- Fungal infections.
- Infectious mononucleosis.
When you are affected by an urticaria infection, you are supposed to avoid histamine-rich foods. It includes the following:
- Yogurt and other old dairy products.
- Preserved meats and bacon.
- Fruits like strawberries and cherries.
- Alcoholic beverages.
- Fermented food products such as bread.
- Fast food.
No, urticaria is not a severe condition. It causes difficulties like severe itching on the initial stages but resolves in most patients with proper treatment. It commonly resolves within 24 hours from the time of onset.
Urticaria can be caused by various infections that affect the human body. It also includes fungal infections. The most common fungal infection that causes urticaria is trichophyton infection.
The urticaria rash is being termed as hives. It typically appears on the skin as reddish lesions. It might be very itchy. It can appear as elevated areas of skin with a blanched center. They can appear in different shapes and sizes, ranging from a few millimeters to several centimeters in diameter. These rashes can also occur in any region of the body.
The following are the methods that can aid in permanent cure of an urticaria reaction:
- Apply a cold compress several times a day. But avoid this method if cold triggers your hives.
- Use topical creams that you can buy in the medical shop without a prescription.
- If symptoms persist, consult a doctor.
Chronic cases of urticaria can also be caused as a result of an immune response. An immune response can be triggered by various factors such as heat, extreme physical activity, or alcohol usage. Stress can also be a potential cause of urticaria and can aggravate it.
The following are the antihistamine medicines that can be used for patients affected with an urticaria reaction:
The following are the list of physical factors that can aggravate an urticaria reaction
- Excessive sweating.
Even though hives are associated with several autoimmune conditions such as thyroid diseases and inflammatory bowel disease, treating the autoimmune condition cannot cure hives. However, in most affected people with chronic urticaria, the rashes will gradually disappear with time.
Urticaria can be prevented by following some simple lifestyle changes. The primary preventive measure is by avoiding triggers such as food and medicines. You should always ensure adequate personal hygiene. It can aid in preventing infections that can cause hives.
Along with our body's circadian rhythms, different health conditions can lead to itchy skin reactions. It is known to become worse at night. This occurs in skin diseases like eczema, psoriasis, and urticaria.
The following are everyday food items that can trigger urticaria. Avoiding those foods from the diet can prevent and cure urticaria:
- Food additives such as vinegar.
- Food preservatives.
Cold urticaria is defined as a skin condition in response to cold that occurs within minutes after the event of cold exposure. The affected region of the skin develops reddish rashes. It is known as hives.
The following are the best treatment options to cure cholinergic urticaria:
- Leukotriene inhibitors.
However, cholinergic urticaria has a higher chance of recurrence.
There is no cure for cold urticaria. However, preventive methods can help avoid the condition. The primary preventative measure is avoiding cold exposure. These patients can also get some relief by using appropriate medication.
Last reviewed at:
07 Sep 2018 - 3 min read
Query: Hello doctor, I have had a rash on my back, neck and chest for over a month. I visited my physician and she thought it could be a fungal infection. She prescribed an anti-fungal medication which I took for 2 weeks. However, the medication did not do anything, and the rash is still present. It gets i... Read Full »
Query: Hi doctor, I am a 30 year old male. Recently, I have been diagnosed with having urticaria (burning, itching sensations throughout the body from head to toe). It started out in an acute way but is turning out to be chronic. It has been more than two and a half months and I am still suffering from it... Read Full »
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