What is Urticaria?
Urticaria is an allergic reaction of immune system which is developed like the skin rashes due to environmental allergens. Skin is the most essential organ of immunity which acts like a defense barrier to certain factors considered as toxic whether external or internal. Usually chronic hives don’t result in complications and must not be a major concern because it is an allergic reaction triggered by something which would otherwise be non-toxic. This articles focuses on the causes, symptoms and treatments of urticaria.
Symptoms of Urticaria:
- Raised warm itchy bumps on the skin is the most common symptom of urticaria.
- Non contagious rashes appear suddenly on any body part which lasts for a few hours.
- Symptoms may aggravate during night and sleep deprivation worsens the condition.
- Breathlessness and shock are other symptoms of urticaria.
- Swelling of tongue and lips are serious conditions which need immediate medical attention.
Causes of Urticaria:
The major causes of urticaria include:
- Viruses may cause hives
- Physical stimulus such as pressure or tight clothing
- Increase in body temperature because of exercise or heat
- Extreme hot or cold climate
- Wasp sting and insect bite
- Animal fur, synthetic material and cosmetics
- Altered immunity and stress may be inter related causes
- Inhaling certain air borne allergens such as mold, pollen and dust
- Newly introduced medications or certain foods can cause allergic reaction. Foods may include gluten, eggs, berries, tomatoes, dairy products, seafood or nuts.
- Health conditions like lupus and hepatitis may trigger skin allergies.
- Hereditary causes of this condition can be observed in the childhood and must be diagnosed and treated.
Tips to Prevent Urticaria:
Following are some simple to prevent urticaria:
- Cold water shower
- Systemic illness must be excluded
- Wear loose fitting clothing
- Avoid heavy physical exercises
- Warm clothing and sunscreens can be used in cold and solar urticaria respectively
- Reduce stress by yoga and meditation
- Identify and eliminate exposing yourself to environmental factors
- Anti-allergics such as H1-antihistamines must be preferred because of its non drowsy effect
- Epinephrine and steroids can be used in serious conditions for suppressing immune reaction. In acute attacks, you can use steroids but are not suggested for prolonged use.
- Aloe vera gel, lacto calamine application and milk of magnesia can be applied topically
- Anti-oxidants and dietary supplements must be included in diet for increasing the immunity