Published on Aug 24, 2016 and last reviewed on Sep 07, 2018 - 3 min read
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
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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