Urticaria also known as Hives is a common dermatologic condition characterized by intensely pruritic, well-circumscribed, raised wheals ranging in size from a few millimeters to several centimeters or more significant. It primarily affects people between the ages of 20 and 40.
Scratching, alcoholic beverages, exercise, and emotional stress can worsen it. Severe pruritus can significantly impair daily functioning and disrupt sleep. Urticaria, usually harmless and self-limiting, can be a symptom of life-threatening anaphylaxis or, in rare cases, indicate a significant underlying disease.
While there is no cure for urticaria or hives, they can be managed and avoided by identifying and avoiding triggers. Consider contacting a Clinical Research Organization near your area to learn more about Urticaria treatment and management.
Types of Urticaria
It can be classified as either:
- Acute urticaria occurs when the rash disappears completely within 6 weeks.
- Chronic urticaria occurs when the rash lasts longer than 6 weeks, often for many years.
- Urticaria vasculitis is a much rarer type of urticaria that causes blood vessels inside the skin to become inflamed. In these cases, the weals are more painful, last longer, and can leave a bruise.
One in every five children or adults will experience acute urticaria at some point in their lives. It can affect people of all races and genders.
Acute urticaria can happen to newborns and infants, but it is rare. Even in children who are afebrile, acute urticaria is usually caused by infection. Food, medication, and inhaled allergens are all important causes in older children. Urticaria in adults is usually idiopathic and spontaneous.
Chronic urticaria affects 0.5-2% of the population, with women accounting for two-thirds of cases in some studies. There are genetic and autoimmune links.
Hives are not contagious. If, on the other hand, it is caused by an underlying infection, the infection may be contagious. Hives are frequently associated with the following symptoms:
- The characteristic raised skin lesions can appear anywhere on the body
- Clusters of lesions are common
- They are frequently itchy
- They can be pink, red, or the color of your skin
- If a person presses in the middle, the coloring may fade
- The bumps usually only last 24 hours, but new ones can form
- They can be as small as a pinprick or as large as several inches across
Urticaria can be triggered by different allergens. An allergen is a substance that your body dislikes, and your immune system responds by releasing chemicals known as histamines. Histamines are a chemical produced by allergy cells (mast cells) and other immune cells (eosinophils, basophils, etc.) in response to allergens. However, your body may react to the flood of histamines by having an allergic reaction, resulting in hives and swelling.
it is believed to be caused by a variety of factors, including:
- Airborne allergens such as pollen from trees and grass, mold spores, and pet dander
- Milk, peanut, and tree nut allergies, as eggs, fish, and shellfish allergies
- Stings from insects
- Medication allergies, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), codeine, and blood pressure medication, particularly ACE inhibitors
- Rapid temperature changes are caused by heat, cold, or physical activity
- Infections caused by viruses, such as the common cold or mononucleosis
- Allergies to other substances, such as latex or detergents
- Hormonal problems, such as changes in your body caused by pregnancy, menopause, or thyroid disease
- Autoimmune diseases
Symptoms Of Urticaria
- Welts (wheals) can appear anywhere on the body and can be red, purple, or skin-colored, depending on your skin color
- Welts that change size, and shape, and appear and fade repeatedly
- Itching (pruritus), which can be severe
- Angioedema (painful swelling) around the eyes, cheeks, or lips
- Heat, exercise, or stress-related flares
- Symptoms that last longer than six weeks and reoccur frequently and at any time, sometimes for months or years
By examining your skin and learning more about your symptoms, your healthcare provider can diagnose chronic hives. Diagnostic tests can help to identify and rule out potential causes. One or more of the following tests may be administered to you:
- An allergy test is performed to determine whether an allergen is causing a reaction.
- A blood test looks for high levels of antibodies, which are proteins that help your body fight bacteria, allergens, and other substances.
- A urine test is performed to look for bacterial infections.
- A skin biopsy is performed to confirm the diagnosis and rule out other possible causes.
The majority of the time, hives and swelling go away on their own. Your doctor may recommend medications and at-home care to help you feel better and reduce your chances of getting hives again. Treatment options include:
- Allergy medications: Antihistamines are medications that block the effects of histamine on your body. Antihistamines relieve itching caused by hives and help to avoid allergic reactions. Some antihistamines, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl®), have a rapid onset of action. Depending on the severity of the hives, your healthcare provider may recommend daily OTC or prescription allergy medications, such as loratadine (Claritin®). Allegra®, cetirizine (Zyrtec®), or levocetirizine (Xyzal®).
- Allergy shots: For difficult-to-treat chronic hives, your doctor may recommend a monthly injection of omalizumab (Xolair®). This medication prevents allergy reactions caused by the body’s allergy antibody, immunoglobin E (IgE). People with severe allergies may produce an excessive amount of IgE, resulting in symptoms such as hives and asthma.
- Treatments at home: Take a cool bath or shower, wear loose-fitting clothing, and apply cold compresses to relieve hives. Itching and swelling can be relieved with over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream, such as Cortizone®.
- Epinephrine: Severe allergic reactions and swelling can result in anaphylaxis, a potentially fatal condition. Hives, swelling, shortness of breath, wheezing, vomiting, and low blood pressure are all symptoms. To open a swollen airway, people suffering from anaphylaxis require an immediate epinephrine injection (EpiPen®).
- Oral steroids: They can alleviate hive symptoms that do not respond to antihistamines such as prednisone.
Chronic hives (chronic urticaria) are itchy and unpleasant. You may begin to be self-conscious about your appearance. Doctors are frequently unable to determine the cause of chronic hives. However, antihistamines, steroids, and even immunosuppressants can be beneficial. Itching and swelling can also be relieved at home.
Many people eventually get rid of chronic hives, though it may take a year or more.
however, It is important to keep track of your symptoms and communicate them to your doctor so that they can be addressed appropriately. Contact Clinical Research Organizations conducting Urticaria Clinical Trials to learn more about the condition and its treatment.
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