Do you have rashes that keep coming back? You may have urticaria. Learn more about this skin condition here.
What Is Urticaria?
Urticaria is a raised, itchy rash that develops on the skin and is often referred to as hives, weals, welts, or nettle rash. It might only affect one portion of the body or cover a sizable area.
The rash can range in size from a few millimetres to the size of a palm and is typically extremely itchy.
The rash often goes away within a few days, even though the affected area may change in appearance within 24 hours.
Who Gets Urticaria or Hives?
Acute urticaria affects one in five kids or adults at some point in their lives. Both sexes and all races are affected.
Although it is rare, babies and infants can develop acute urticaria. Even in afebrile youngsters, acute urticaria is typically caused by infection. Food, medications, and inhalation allergies are additional significant reasons in older kids. Urticaria in adults is typically idiopathic and spontaneous.
The first indication of COVID-19 infection may be acute urticaria coupled with a fever.
Types of Urticaria
Image Source: iStock
The many forms of hives may be identified, which is useful for treatment. The kind you have can affect how they are handled and how long they will last.
Hives that start abruptly and continue no longer than six weeks are referred to as acute urticaria.
Chronic urticaria can arise abruptly or as a result of a known allergy and lasts longer than six weeks. They can be extremely unpleasant and obstruct daytime and sleeping activities. A healthcare professional should do a test for chronic urticaria because it may be brought on by an allergy or autoimmune illness.
Urticaria vasculitis, a much more uncommon form of urticaria, can result in inflamed blood vessels under the skin. In these situations, the wounds are more painful, stay longer than 24 hours, and sometimes even leave a bruise.
What is Chronic Spontaneous Urticaria?
Urticaria that is persistent but has no known cause or trigger is referred to as chronic spontaneous urticaria. For at least six weeks, there are weals on the majority of days of the week.
Chronic idiopathic urticaria was the old name for chronic spontaneous urticaria. Since many cases have autoimmune causes, this name is no longer used.
Cholinergic urticaria is a common type of urticaria that appears as a result of an increase in body temperature brought on by activities like playing sports, engaging in vigorous exercise, or even experiencing emotional stress or trauma.
What Causes Urticaria?
High quantities of histamine and other chemical messengers are released in the skin in response to a trigger, which results in urticaria. These compounds lead to the affected skin’s blood vessels opening up and becoming leaky (frequently resulting in redness or pinkness). Both swelling and itching are brought on by the extra fluid in the tissues.
Histamine is released for a variety of reasons, such as:
- Viral sickness or infection
- Emotional tension
- Pet dander
- an allergic reaction, such as one brought on by a food allergy or a response to an insect sting or bite.
- exposure to heat or cold
- an infection, like a cold
- certain medications, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or antibiotics
- autoimmune condition
- • Tight or compressive clothing
- • Sweating
- • Extreme cold or heat
- • Sunlight
- • Water
However, there is frequently no apparent explanation for urticaria.
Long-lasting urticaria may occasionally result from the immune system mistakenly targeting healthy tissue. However, it is challenging to identify, and there is no specific cure.
On the body, urticaria can appear everywhere. They may be 1 centimetre in diameter or cover a sizable region. Hives symptoms include:
- Under-the-skin swelling with distinct margins (angioedema) (Note: If swelling occurs around the throat or mouth, seek medical attention immediately.)
- Hives that expand or cover more ground
- Swelling that appears and disappears
- Dermatographism, sometimes known as “skin writing” (when hives result from pressure or scratches)
Additionally, some stimuli could exacerbate the symptoms. These consist of:
- consuming alcohol
- drinking coffee
- psychological strain
- Pleasant temperature
Urticaria vs Eczema
Asthma is frequently associated with eczema, a condition that causes your skin to become red and itchy. The health of the skin has a larger role in this illness than exposure to a particular allergen.
Eczema | Image from iStock
Both urticaria and eczema tend to be triggered by certain things, which is one commonality between the two conditions. Once you can identify what specifically sets off your flare-ups, you’ll be better equipped to treat your disease.
Urticaria is only occasionally a chronic ailment and is typically just transient, but eczema is a chronic disorder that can start in childhood and last into adulthood. Additionally, urticaria doesn’t need to be treated because it typically goes away on its own. Eczema, on the other hand, has no known treatment and can only be maintained with moisturisers for dry skin and other drugs to treat specific symptoms.
How To Treat Urticaria
Image source: iStock
Many times, urticaria doesn’t require treatment because the rash usually goes away on its own within a few days. However, there are a few approaches to treating them, such as:
Antihistamines, such as Benadryl (diphenhydramine) or Zyrtec (cetirizine)
Antihistamines prevent the production of histamines, chemicals that are released by cells in response to allergies. Hives and other physical allergy symptoms are caused by histamine release.
This is rubbed on the hives to relieve itching.
Epinephrine, or adrenaline
A medical professional may administer an injection of adrenaline in extreme circumstances, such as throat swelling.
Since steroids quickly lessen inflammation (the body’s response to an outside invader), they are also used for severe cases of urticaria.
How To Treat Cold Urticaria
After weeks or months, cold urticaria may spontaneously disappear in some people. It lasts longer in some people. The illness cannot be cured, however, treatment and preventative measures can assist.
Your doctor could advise you to use over-the-counter antihistamines and limit your exposure to the cold to try and prevent or decrease symptoms. If that doesn’t work, you might require a prescription drug such as Antihistamines (without sedation) and Omalizumab (Xolair).
You might also require medical or other forms of treatment if your cold urticaria is brought on by an underlying medical condition. Your doctor might advise you to carry an epinephrine autoinjector if you have a history of systemic reactions.
How Long Does Urticaria Last
Anyone can develop hives. Although they will most likely go away in a day, if your hives persist for a long time or cause you a lot of discomfort, consult a doctor. In the event that over-the-counter medicines are ineffective, a doctor can determine the origin of your hives and prescribe medication. Hives can be controlled and prevented with the right care and knowledge of your triggers.
Keeping an eye on flare-ups and noting triggers to avoid in the future is one strategy to stop hives from returning. Various foods, plants, and substances fall within this category (like additives in foods). Avoiding extremes of heat or cold is also advised.
Other recommendations for preventing urticaria are:
- Dressing in loose attire
- Refrain from hot showers
- Using a fragrance-free moisturiser to hydrate every day
- Reducing stress
- Managing allergies
- Adhering to a doctor’s prescribed medication schedule
Here at theAsianparent Singapore, it’s important for us to give information that is correct, significant, and timely. But this doesn’t serve as an alternative for medical advice or medical treatment. theAsianparent Singapore is not responsible for those that would choose to drink medicines based on information from our website. If you have any doubts, we recommend consulting your doctor for clearer information