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Urticaria- symptoms and causes

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What is urticaria?

When you have Urticaria, some itchy bumps will show up on your skin, which are red in colour. It is also commonly called as hives. You experience intense itching when you have this problem. Even though it is generally caused by an allergic reaction, there may be different non-allergic causes of the problem.

Urticaria can be acute or chronic based on the duration of the outbreak. If the outbreak lasts for less than six weeks, it is called as acute urticaria and if it lasts for more than six weights, it is known as chronic urticaria.

Acute urticaria generally happens due to an allergic reaction and on the other hand chronic urticaria happens due to autoimmune causes. A viral infection can also cause acute urticaria. Sometimes local pressure, extreme temperature, friction and sunlight may also cause urticaria or hives.


The most common symptom of urticaria is raised or swollen surface of the skin. Depending on the condition, the swelling may join together, spread out or become larger. Even if they disappear, reappearance may happen within hours.

In case of an outbreak, the spread is very fast and within 30 minutes such bombs may appear and spread. Such rapidity of spread is the most known characteristics of urticaria problem. Hives may result in another secondary skin problem called as angioedema.

There raised areas of your skin will be very itchy. Other areas near the bumps become very sensitive. The bombs may be pinpoint or patch size. A single hives can result in too much pain and it may leave bruise marks. If it lasts for more than a day, it may convert into a serious problem known as urticaria vasculitis.

If hives are caused by friction in that case, you actually don't have to go for any treatment option. All you need to do is remove the source of friction and the problem will go away.

If you are suffering from hives, you should never scratch the skin even though the temptation may be very high. Scratching will damage your skin. In case of severe urticaria, digestive distress and fever may show up. Some others severe symptoms include headaches, periodic flaushing, respiratory problems, dizziness, tongue or facial swelling, fluid retention and hypotension. If you neglect severe urticaria, it may result in asphyxiation.

Causes of urticaria

Even the scientists are not very sure about the exact cause of urticaria, now we know about certain triggers and some reactions that can increase the possibility and intensity of urticaria. Non-allergic causes of this problem are autoimmunity, stress, hormone interplay and others. Some of the most common urticaria causes triggers are-

Food additives- there are some food additives and synthetic preservatives which may cause allergic reactions in some people.

Allergens in foodstuff- if food allergens are there in your food like egg, cheese, milk, cereals, wheat, protein products, chicken, oranges, fish, peas, then consuming them can result in urticaria.

Alcohol- alcohol allergies are not very common. Such allergies may happen due to ingredients used in preparation of the alcoholic beverage. So, somebody may be allergic to wine but may not be allergic to other alcoholic beverages.

Drugs-different types of drugs may cause allergic reactions and thereby urticaria. Antibiotics like penicillin, anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin and contraceptive pills, vaccinations can cause allergic reactions in different people. If you're sensitive to penicillin, you should also avoid milk of animals treated with penicillin.

Infections and infestations- frequent fungal and bacterial infections, insect bites, viral infections, worm infestations can also cause allergic reactions and thereby urticaria.

Environmental factors- some environmental factors such as exposure to dust, pollen, fun joy, extreme temperatures, changing temperatures may also trigger urticaria.


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