Top 10 Frequently Asked Questions About Urticaria

July 6, 2020     

Frequently Asked Questions cleared About Urticaria by Dr Swapna Priya, one of the best Dermatologist in Hyderabad

Hives, medically termed as Urticaria appears on the skin as pale red itchy bumps or plaques (wheals) due to the body’s reaction to specific allergens or unknown reasons. They appear in different sizes and shapes from a few millimetres to centimetres anywhere on the body, or it might affect the entire body. Urticaria looks like common skin rashes that are triggered by many factors, including certain foods, medicines, and stress. Urticaria is symptomatic, which includes itchy, raised, red, or pale-coloured bruises on the surface of the skin.

Is Urticaria Communicable?
Hives or urticaria is an infectious disease. The trigger of the hives, such as viruses can be transmitted from an infected person to another. Generally, the agent that causes urticaria rash is not detected. Hives are of many types, and most of them are not contagious.

Are There Different Types Of Urticaria?
There exist various types of hives, but the effects of the condition are almost the same.

Acute urticaria: This type of hives lasts less than six weeks. They are caused due to an allergic reaction to certain foods or medicines. Infections and insect bites may also result in this type of rashes.

Chronic urticaria and angioedema: This type of hives last for more than six weeks. It may be caused due to some underlying health disorders like thyroid disease, cancer, or hepatitis.

Physical urticaria: This type of hives are caused due to direct physical exposure of the skin to extreme conditions like cold, heat, exposure to sun, vibration, stress, and sweating. Mostly these types of hives occur within one hour of the skin exposure.

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Dermatographism: This type of hives occur due to scratching or rubbing the skin vigorously. These types of hives also occur along with other forms of hives.

What Causes Urticaria Flare-Up?
Certain medications and medical conditions can result in hives. Some other causes include foods, insect bites, and infections. The most common foods that result in hives are fish, eggs, nuts, tomatoes, chocolate, fresh berries, and milk.

Sometimes the cause might be unknown. It occurs when the condition is triggered and rises the histamine levels and other chemical messengers associated with skin cell production. Excess production of the chemical opens the blood vessels in the affected area resulting in redness or pinkness on the skin. The excess fluid leaks and leads to swelling and itchiness.

There were many reasons for excess production of Histamine, including an allergic reaction caused due to food or an insect bite or sting or exposure to cold or heated atmospheric conditions. Drinking alcohol or caffeine and emotional stress can easily flare-up the condition.

Which Food Should I Avoid If I Have Urticaria?
It would be best if you considered avoiding certain foods that are rich in histamines.

  • Cheese and cheese products
  • Yoghurt
  • Preserved Non-veg
  • Fruits like strawberries and cherries
  • Spinach
  • Tomatoes
  • Alcohol
  • Fermented foods
  • Fast food
  • Canned, frozen, and smoked fish which include tuna fish, anchovies, and sardines
  • Spices such as chilli powder, cinnamon, and vinegar

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The above foods can easily flare-up the symptoms of urticaria or hives, and it’s better to avoid them.

Why Does Urticaria Flare Up At Night?
Your body temperature and the blood flow to the skin varies at night time warming up your skin. A rise in temperature of the skin, your body’s natural circadian rhythms and other favourable conditions can make you feel itchy during night time. Moreover, the release of certain enzymes and proteins varies, such as the release of cytokines, increases inflammation.

Is Urticaria Related Stress?
Chronic hives might be due to immune system disorder; they are triggered by certain factors like heat, extreme exercise, or alcohol consumption. Some studies say that stress can also cause hives and even make them worse can make hives you already have.

What Infections Cause Urticaria?
There are dozens of infections that can cause hives which include throat infections, stomach infections, and genital or urinary tract infections. Fungal infections, infectious mononucleosis, and hepatitis can also cause infections. Viral infections that cause the common cold, step throat often causes hives in children.

How Do We Treat Urticaria?
Hives can be treated by taking non-sedating antihistamines like cetirizine or fexofenadine as prescribed. They help to block the effects of histamines and reduce the rashes and itching. Start with the below steps to prevent the symptoms associated with chronic hives:

  • Avoid known triggers
  • Take prescribed medications
  • Soothe your skin
  • Wear loose and light clothes
  • Take vitamin D supplement
  • Consider alternative therapies to reduce stress
  • Manage your emotions

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Does Vitamin D Help urticaria?
A group of researchers says that vitamin D is an add-on therapy that provides relief from chronic hives along with other treatment options.

How Long Do Flare-ups Of Urticaria Last?
Hives are of different types and last a variable amount of time. Usually, flare-ups may last for a few minutes to several hours, and sometimes even last several weeks to months. Hives usually come and go. They subside for some days or months or years and reappear again when certain conditions trigger them.

Can Urticaria be Prevented Naturally?
Bathing in an anti-itch solution, applying aloe vera solutions, avoiding irritants like perfumes, moisturizers, etc., can soothe your skin. But these natural remedies should be used under the guidance of an experienced dermatologist.

For more details, consult Dr Swapna Priya, one of the best urticaria specialists in Hyderabad.