Urticaria

Related Terms:

  • Angioedema
  • Dermographism
  • Hives
  • Prickly Heat

Uses

Principal Proposed Natural Treatments

  • None

Other Proposed Natural Treatments

Urticaria, commonly called hives, is an inflammation of the surface layers of the skin, and is characterized by small, itchy red or white welts (called wheals). Urticaria is usually caused by an allergic reaction; however, the allergenic trigger is often unknown. When a cause can be identified, it is frequently something taken by mouth, such as shellfish or other fish, dairy products, peanuts or other legumes, chocolate, fresh fruit, or medications. Sometimes other allergens such as pollens, molds, or animal dander, can produce hives. Hives can also be caused by heat (cholinergic urticaria or "prickly heat"), cold (cold urticaria), pressure (dermographism and pressure urticaria), light (solar urticaria), exercise, and certain infections such as hepatitis B . In most acute cases, urticaria disappears within hours or days without any treatment. Sometimes, however, it may continue for a prolonged period, or recur frequently. Such chronic cases are often very difficult to treat.Urticaria is closely related to another condition called angioedema, which involves swelling in the deeper layers of the skin. When swelling occurs in the throat or tongue, angioedema can be life-threatening.Urticaria and angioedema are also closely related to anaphylaxis, an extremely dangerous condition that can lead to death within minutes or hours. Anaphylaxis is an overwhelming allergic reaction that may lead to swelling of internal organs, collapse of blood circulation, shock, or suffocation. It may be caused by all the same factors that trigger hives; one of the most well-known causes is bee sting allergy.Conventional treatments for urticaria and angioedema include avoidance of triggering factors, and use of antihistamines, and, occasionally, corticosteroids. When breathing is threatened, epinephrine shots and possibly hospitalization may be needed.

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