Urticaria, also known as “hives”, are red, itchy, swollen areas of the skin that can range in size and appear anywhere on the body. It is a common condition that can affect any person of any race at any age in any season of the year. Hives are classified as acute or chronic depending on the length of the episode.
Most common are acute cases of hives, where the cause is identifiable – often a viral infection, drug, or specific food. These hives usually go away spontaneously. Sometimes, no cause can be detected.
Some people have chronic hives that occur almost daily for months to years. For these individuals, various circumstances or events, such as scratching, pressure or “nerves,” may aggravate their hives.
What cause Urticuria?
There are a few factors that cause urticuria. In adults, reactions to medicines are a common cause of acute hives. Medications known to cause hives include aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Like all drug-induced hives, these reactions occur within only minutes to an hour of taking the drug.
Adults can also develop hives after eating certain foods, including nuts, eggs, shellfish, soy, wheat or milk – the culprits in more than 90% of proven food-induced hives. In children, foods or viral infections such as a cold can trigger acute hives.
Physical urticaria are hives resulting from an outside source, such as rubbing of the skin, cold, heat, physical exertion or exercise, pressure or direct exposure to sunlight. Patients with chronic urticaria often report that at least one of these triggers induces their hives.
The best treatment for urticaria is to identify and avoid the cause and any aggravating factors. Other than that, antihistamines are prescribed to provide relief and work best if taken on a regular schedule to prevent hives from forming.