Urticaria is a rash that occurs on the skin and is characterized by the appearance of raised, itchy bumps.
Urticaria is commonly referred to as hives, weals, welts, or nettle rash. The condition might manifest locally or cover huge regions of the body.
There are two types of urticaria. Hives that last less than six weeks are called acute urticaria. It is chronic urticaria when it occurs more than twice a week and lasts longer than six weeks.
Urticaria affects about 20% of the population at some point in their lives. Chronic urticaria affect between 1% and 3% of the population.
Urticaria happens because the body releases histamine. It is a normal body reaction when it encounters allergens such as food, insect bite/sting, cold/heat exposure, infection, and drugs like NSAIDs or antibiotics.
Signs and symptoms of acute urticaria are the following:
Both chronic and acute hives might look similar, with red, itchy, swollen, raised welts that become lighter in the center and when pressed. Chronic urticaria, on the other hand, will:
In the case of acute hives, allergy tests can help determine the cause of the reaction. Some allergy tests that can help determine the cause of hives are the following:
Hives typically clear up on their own without medical intervention. However, the following are prescribed if symptoms persist:
The following are examples of additional medications doctors use for urticaria:
It is also possible to treat hives at home by taking a cool bath or shower, dressing in loose clothing, and applying cold compresses.
In acute urticaria
After identifying the specific allergens from a skin test, the following can be done:
Some of the steps above may be done in chronic urticaria.
In chronic urticaria
Some research suggests that chronic hives may not be preventable. It is possible that the root cause cannot be identified. Even more probable that they are a symptom of a more serious immune system disorder.
NHS Inform (2022). Urticaria (hives). Retrieved December 23, 2022, from https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/skin-hair-and-nails/urticaria-hives
Cleveland Clinic (2022). Hives. Retrieved December 23, 2022, from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/8630-hives