Urticaria is a skin condition also known as Hives, it usually looks like a rash and is swollen, red and raised bumps on your skin. It usually causes itching and is not contagious. In most cases this is caused as a response to an allergic reaction, sometimes the reason can be unknown as well. (1)
When your body has an allergic reaction there is the release of histamine. Histamine causes your capillaries to leak fluid which thus causes the red itchy rashes on your skin. Hives can appear anywhere on the body including the tongue, ears, and lips. There is a release of histamine in all cases of an allergic reaction. These allergies may be due to the sunlight exposure, infections, dust, pollen, foods, insect stings, metals, and even medication. At most times however people never find the exact cause of Urticaria. This reaction might last for a few hours or a day.
There different types of Urticaria :
- Acute Urticaria: This is when the reaction lasts for less than six weeks, in this case, it’s usually caused due to an allergic food reaction. It’s believed at most times its fresh food that causes this more than baked foods. Drugs and medications can also cause an allergic reaction.
- Chronic Urticaria: This is when the allergic reaction lasts for more than six weeks. In this case, the cause is mostly internal, due to certain diseases such as thyroid problems, Hepatitis, and cancer.
- Physical Urticaria: This is when the cause for Urticaria is something that’s external and in physical form. For example sunlight exposure, sweating, exercise, and pressure and at certain times diarrhea as well. (2)
- Dermatographism: When Urticaria occurs due to firmly scratching the skin.
There are no set tests for Urticaria, your doctor will have to ask you a series of questions, trying to find out about your daily routine, your skin care routine etc before diagnosing you with Urticaria. In some cases they might also suggest you do a skin test, to be sure. (3)
In cases of acute Urticaria, antihistamines have prescribed that help in controlling the allergic reaction of your skin due to histamines. Results are best seen when you follow the schedule and take it regularly as prescribed.
Chronic Urticaria would need a combination of medication and not just antihistamines, this might include prescribing corticosteroids as well. This condition can, however, cause severe discomfort and stress can aggravate it even more.
It’s always best to identify what’s causing the allergy and take it away however this is hardly ever easy to do. Stressful events that cause insomnia are seen to worsen the condition and in some cases might even cause it.
You would have to see a doctor in case it causes difficulty in breathing especially when it’s found on your lips, throat and mouth region, this can also lead to dizziness and wheezing. Another skin condition called Angioedema has the same appearance as Urticaria, however its a different skin condition. This is usually caused due to swelling under the skin and not on the surface itself.
In your daily routine doctors usually advice to keep your skin cool and uses cold compresses from time to time to help reduce the discomfort.
How to cure Urticaria?
Antihistamines and at times corticosteroids are prescribed to cure Urticaria.
Can Urticaria be cured permanently?
It’s curable when you know the cause, otherwise, it can be difficult to keep it under control.
Is Urticaria dangerous?
There is no danger, unless it occurs on your throat or tongue it could cause you to experience difficulty in breathing in which case it’s dangerous.
Is Urticaria contagious?
No, it is not contagious.
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