Urticaria is characterized by itchy bumps or areas of raised skin that are light red in color and cause intense itching. This condition is commonly known as hives and while it is most commonly caused by an allergic reaction it can also have non-allergic causes. Urticaria is classified as either acute or chronic and this is dependant on how long the outbreak lasts. Outbreaks that last for less than 6 weeks are referred to as acute urticaria cases while those that last for longer periods are termed as chronic. Acute urticaria is generally the result of an allergic reaction while chronic urticaria often has autoimmune causes. An acute viral infection can also be a cause of acute urticaria. Hives are also known to be caused by local pressure, friction, extremes of temperature, and sunlight.
The most prominent symptom of urticaria is swelling of the surface of the skin. The pattern of the hives may get larger, spread out, or join together to alter the pattern as the condition progresses and spreads over a larger surface area. They may also disappear and reappear within a few minutes or within hours. If you press the center of a hive, it affects the entire hive, and it will turn white. An outbreak of hives generally escalates very rapidly and it is possible for the bumps to appear and spread over your skin within 30 minutes. This rapidity is considered to be one of the most characteristic of all urticaria symptoms. The raised patches of skin will be extremely itchy while the rest of your skin may be very sensitive. The welts caused by urticaria may be either pin point, or patch size in area and in some cases it can cause a secondary skin condition known as Angioedema. Single hives that cause much pain will last more than a day and leave bruise marks as they are likely to be a more serious condition known as urticarial vasculitis. Hives that are caused by friction will be linear in appearance and are of a benign condition and require little or no urticaria treatment apart from eliminating the source of friction.
The intense itching can become unbearable to the point where the individual may inadvertently cause damage to the skin by scratching at the affected areas. The condition can be disturbing to parents who have never experienced it themselves, but observe it in their children. Although you may find yourself exasperated as your child continues to scratch at the skin, despite your warnings against doing so, you need to keep your calm. The intense itching can be unbearable, and even adults find it near impossible to restrain themselves. Instead of admonishing your child, , make sure that you take steps to minimize the discomfort and try to distract a child with hives so that they do not scratch the rash. In severe cases, the individual may also have a fever and may suffer from digestive distress. In most cases, the rash subsides for a couple of hours or even days before it returns. Other severe urticaria symptoms include periodic flushing, headaches, dizziness, respiratory problems, fluid retention, tongue or facial swelling and hypotension. Medical attention is essential, as if neglected, severe cases of utricaria can even cause asphyxiation, resulting in death. There are several ongoing research programs to understand the exact causes of this condition in order to increase the effectiveness of existing treatment methods.
There is a lot that we still do not understand about urticaria causes although we do know that there are certain triggers and certain reactions that could cause the symptoms associated with utricaria to flare up. The absence of any well defined or clear cause of urticaria does to a large extent limit our ability to deal with the problem. The point to note is that urticaria is not always caused through or because of an allergy and there is no definitive urticaria cure. Non–allergic causes are connected to auto- immunity, to hormone interplay to stress factors, and more. These are some of the more common urticaria causes or triggers:
The symptoms of urticaria are often very obvious and this often has a negative impact on one’s social life. This in turn can cause a great deal of distress and anxiety which would only serve to aggravate the condition. You can consult your doctor for detailed advice on how to cure urticaria symptoms such as itching and inflammation. There are also several home remedies for hives that can be used to treat the condition as well as reduce the severity of the symptoms. While there is little supporting research to back up most of these home treatments, some of them are extremely effective. Treatment results could vary greatly however, and in some cases certain remedies may be ineffective. Exercise caution when using any of these home treatments. These are some of the most effective home remedies for urticaria:
Diet plays a very important role in the treatment of urticaria, especially in the case of a food allergy. The first step in planning your diet for urticaria is to avoid the food that is causing the reaction. If you are unsure as to what food caused your reaction, you would need to make a list of all the foods that you have consumed in the last 24 hours and avoid all of them if possible. Try to recall if your diet in the last 48 hours included foods that you do not usually consume. Take away food, especially Chinese food is often associated with food allergies due to the spices and condiments that are used to prepare them.
In addition to this, it would be wise to stick to a bland diet for a few days or until the symptoms subside. Avoid foods like shellfish, eggs, and pineapples as they could aggravate your condition. It would also be best if you also avoid milk and milk products, eggs, and soy products.
The intense discomfort may tempt you to self-medicate but this is not advisable as certain medications may aggravate your condition. It would be wise to seek medical attention as soon as possible so that you recover quickly. However, if you experience fever and/or breathing problems, you may require immediate medical attention. Make a list of all your symptoms, no matter how trivial they may seem, so that your doctor is able to make an accurate diagnosis.