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What is Urticaria?

By on March 24, 2012 in Diseases with 0 Comments

Urticaria

Hives are areas of red, inflamed skin (hives) that cause intense itching. The hives appear suddenly and disappear quickly in one or two hours, but can also last up to 24 hours. Often they occur in groups. New hives may also form while old ones disappear. It is estimated that 20% of the population has suffered a rash of urticaria in some stage of their life.

What Causes Hives?

Often, the rash is a side effect of the ingestion of certain foods or medications. Foods that can cause hives include nuts, tomatoes, shellfish and berries. Drugs frequently responsible for the appearance of hives are penicillin, sulfa drugs, anticonvulsants, phenobarbital and aspirin.
What Are Other Causes of Hives?

A common form of urticaria is dermographism, presented in 5% of the population. Urticaria is caused by constant rubbing or friction on the skin, and often occur after scratching, or when tight-fitting clothes are worn.

Cholinergic urticaria is the medical term for hives that can develop after activities that increase body temperature. Activities that may cause this include: taking a bath in a bath tub, shower, whirlpool or hot tub, exercise, fever or emotional stress. It is estimated that 5% to 7% of patients suffer from cholinergic urticaria.

The cold-induced urticaria occurs after exposure to wind or water at very low temperatures. Hives can occur on the limbs and generally in any area exposed. Cold water or liquids can cause symptoms on the lips or mouth.

Solar urticaria is caused by exposure to sunlight or sunlamps , may occur a reaction within one to three minutes.

Exercise is another cause of urticaria. Some affected individuals may also develop pulmonary obstruction and/or loss of consciousness. This reaction is known as severe exercise-induced anaphylaxis.

Sometimes, the rash appears recurrently in individuals without obvious cause. This is called chronic urticaria. While this is mainly a nuisance and is not associated with serious internal disease, the exact mechanism of this disease is not known and the hives usually disappear by itself.

 

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