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Urticaria, known as hives, is a disease that causes the appearance of red rash on the skin that fades when pressure is applied and is characterized by itching, exacerbated by scratching and stress. The rash is similar to the one that appears after a sting from a nettle, from which the disease got its name.
It can be acute with a duration of up to 6 weeks or become chronic. The rash may be present from a few minutes to 24 hours.
Factors that trigger the disease are various foods, most often nuts, dairy, and seafood, as they are strong allergens; medications, and the possibility of some of them causing urticaria is indicated in their leaflets; insects; pollen; plants, such as poison oak and poison ivy; various diseases, viruses, bacteria, and hormonal changes. Causes of urticaria can be cold, heat, sun, pressure, contact with plants.
Prevention of urticaria consists of avoiding the provoking factors – food, medication, and others, depending on what caused the disease. If the cause is unknown, intradermal testing is recommended, or epicutaneous testing if the allergen is in contact. Testing is performed after the symptoms subside. During the test, a specific antigen is injected subcutaneously, and the reaction is monitored. In particular types of urticaria caused by cold, heat, or sun, the tests are performed with ice, warm water, etc. This identifies the cause that the patient must avoid so they could prevent the recurrence of symptoms.
Urticaria is affected by antihistamines, corticosteroids, and others aimed at suppressing the symptoms. It is not life-threatening if it does not occur with angioedema – swelling of the lips and throat, which can lead to suffocation and requires urgent medical attention and rapid handling of the condition.
The itching increases when scratching, which is why it is recommended to relieve it at home with non-traditional means – a cold compress on the rash, pouring cold water if the urticaria itself is not caused by cold. Herbal teas from chamomile, licorice, green tea help the treatment.
However, please do not rely solely on them and make sure to consult a doctor. By determining the severity of the disease and the cause, you will be able to avoid the trigger and maintain your health. You will find the right specialist at Medical Center Hera.