Dermatologists and Skin Care

Urticaria - Causes and Treatment

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

Image: 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:

  • Identify and remove the trigger factor like food, infection, and drugs.
  • The mainstay of treatment is antihistamines. Increased dosage of antihistamines can be used if not controlled on a low dose.
  • For symptomatic relief, we can apply Calamine lotion and other soothing agents on the skin along with topical steroids for a short period of time.
  • Ensure proper hygiene with avoidance of application of irritants.
Last reviewed at: 09.Mar.2019



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