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Urticaria - Causes and Treatment

Written by
Dr. Rabia
and medically reviewed by Dr. Sneha Kannan

Published on Mar 09, 2019   -  1 min read


Urticaria is a condition that is characterized by the presence of wheels or hives over the body. Usually, it occurs alone but may also occur along with swelling of lips, eyes, and face (angioedema).

Urticaria - Causes and Treatment

Urticaria is a condition that is characterized by the presence of wheels or hives over the body. Usually, it occurs alone but may also occur along with swelling of lips, eyes, and face (angioedema).

Which Is the Most Common Symptom Seen?

Patients who experience urticaria have itching over the area.

What Are the Types of Urticaria?

There are two main types of urticaria according to the time scale-

  1. Acute urticaria - present for less than 6 months.
  2. Chronic urticaria - present for more than 6 months.

What Causes Urticaria?

Most cases of urticaria are idiopathic, that is the exact cause is not known.

In acute cases, urticaria can occur due to infections like upper respiratory tract infection or gastrointestinal tract infection. It can also occur due to drugs, certain foods, and additives.

In chronic cases, the exact cause is not known but studies have shown that in chronic cases, our autoimmune system plays its role. Apart from autoimmunity, chronic infections and thyroid seem to play a role.

What Is the Pathogenesis?

Urticaria occurs due to type 1 reaction in which an allergen recognized by our body triggers the release of eosinophils from body cells resulting in clinical symptoms of urticaria.

The individual suffering from this disease is the most important observant who can recognize and know his or her daily routine and can notice what things are causing or triggering the problem.

What Is the Treatment for Urticaria?

The first thing is to identify the trigger of the disease. In some people, the disease is aggravated after taking certain kinds of foods like egg, meat, etc. Things need to be done are:


Frequently Asked Questions


How Can We Permanently Cure Urticaria?

Urticaria does not have a permanent cure, and remission after a few months or years is usual; however, it can be managed by reducing the release of histamines.


What Is Meant by Cholinergic Urticaria?

Cholinergic urticaria occurs due to an increase in the body temperature, resulting in the formation of tiny hives of size between 1 to 3 mm surrounded by large red circular patches called wheals. Antihistamine medications help in treating cholinergic urticaria.


What Is the Prevalence Rate of Cold Urticaria?

The prevalence rate of cold urticaria is less than 0.05%, with a female predisposition. It is predominantly seen in young and middle-aged adults as compared to children and older adults.


What Is the Lasting Period of Urticaria?

A single hive usually lasts for about a few hours to weeks which new ones later replace. Urticaria which is present for less than six weeks, is characterized as acute, and those which persist even after that are termed chronic urticaria.


How Does Urticaria Present Like?

Urticaria present as reddish, itchy, smoothly raised areas of varying shapes and sizes, occurring anywhere in the body. It has a blanched center, and the average diameter of urticaria ranges from a few millimeters to centimeters.


What Is Meant by Autoimmune Urticaria?

Autoimmune urticaria occurs when the immune system itself attacks the cells of the body. Anti-FcεRI and anti-IgE autoantibodies are produced, which activate the basophils and mast cells, thereby leading to histamine and proinflammatory mediators release.


Is Urticaria a Severe Condition?

Urticaria is generally not a fatal condition but is a benign condition that causes discomfort. However, it is also present with underlying chronic disease of infective, idiopathic, psychical, physical, and vascular etiology.


Is Urticaria an Autoimmune Condition?

Sometimes urticaria is associated with an underlying autoimmune disorder, in which the cells of the body are attacked by their own immune system cells, which is called autoimmune urticaria.


How Can We Effectively Treat Urticaria?

First and second-generation antihistamines are used to treat urticaria, which is used alone or in combination to produce a synergistic effect. Glucocorticoids are used in cases that do not respond to antihistamines.


Are Urticaria and Thyroid Linked?

It has been reported that chronic urticaria is an early sign of underlying autoimmune thyroid disease. Although it is not the only sign, developing chronic urticaria indicates a thyroid problem, and thyroid tests should be prompted.


What Is Meant by Urticaria Skin Disease?

Urticaria or hives occur as reddish and itchy hives of different sizes on the skin due to a triggered response to foods, medicines, or other substances.


How Can We Treat Urticaria At Home?

- Wear cotton clothes that are loose-fitting.
- Use cold compress over the affected area.
- Take over-the-counter antihistamine medications or Calamine topical lotion.


What Are the Foods to Be Avoided in Urticaria?

- Dairy products like cheese and yogurt.
- Processed meats.
- Strawberries.
- Cherries.
- Frozen and canned foods.
- Fermented foods.
- Chilli powder.
- Vinegar.
- Cloves.
- Cinnamon.
- Spinach.
- Tomatoes.
- Eggplant.
- Beverages that contain alcohol.


What Foods Induce Urticaria?

- Chocolate.
- Fish.
- Eggs.
- Tomatoes.
- Nuts.
- Berries.
- Soy.
- Milk.
- Wheat.
- Fresh foods or uncooked foods.
- Food additives.


What Are the Infections Responsible for Causing Urticaria?

Urinary tract infections and streptococcal throat infections caused by bacteria, and viral infections like flu, infectious mononucleosis, herpes, etc., are responsible for causing urticaria or hives.

Last reviewed at:
09 Mar 2019  -  1 min read




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