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What is Urticaria?
Urticaria is a condition characterized by the development of raised welts or hives, angioedema (swelling) or both at once. Also called nettle rash, these are localized itchy and swollen plaques of variable sizes. Most urticaria clears within six weeks of developing. But rashes that persist longer than six weeks are termed as chronic urticaria.
What causes Urticaria?
Histamine chemical is a part of the immune system and helps fight allergies in the body. High levels of histamine can lead to the occurrence of urticaria, although the exact reason for this sudden histamine release remains unknown. When histamine along with some other chemicals are released under the surface layers of the skin, the tissues become swollen and inflamed, bursting the blood vessels and creating the characteristic reddish rash. Short term urticaria can be triggered by allergic reactions, antibiotics and stress.
While chronic urticaria may occur due to an autoimmune condition in which the body mistakenly attacks its own tissue
What are the symptoms of Urticaria?
Symptoms include red rashes and white welts on the skin over the body. These can appear as localised clusters on the face, arms and legs, and torso, and vary in shape and size. These rashes can exhibit swelling and itching depending on the severity. The swelling may also cause pain or a burning sensation. Hot and humid weather, consumption of alcohol and caffeine and high levels of stress can worsen the symptoms. People with hives are suggested to avoid exercising and humid weather conditions until the rash has healed.
How do you treat Urticaria?
Most cases of hives are self-treatable and heal on their own in a few days or weeks. But in many cases, however, the associated itching and swelling can cause a lot of discomforts, and may require professional medical advice and medications to provide relief. Treatment options for urticarial include- oral antihistamines, topical calamine and in severe cases short course of oral steroids or immunosuppressants. Non responsive cases are also treated with biologicals and Autologous serum therapy.