Urticaria or hives is a skin reaction that causes spots or red, itchy plaques on the body.
Swelling and itching from urticaria can be very pronounced.
The characteristic that sets it apart from other skin diseases different, are red wheals on the surface of the skin.
They are not bubbles, but rather raised red spots with irregular edges.
As a rule, urticaria is caused by an allergy. When an allergen comes into contact with the skin, the body releases histamine into the bloodstream and causes:
Classification of urticaria
There are two types of urticaria: acute and chronic.
Current urticaria is often caused by:
- Food allergy,
- gnat bite,
- Contact with a substance (e.g. nickel) or a drug (e.g. acetaminophen).
It can last from a few hours to a maximum of six weeks.
If hives last longer than 6 weeks, they are defined as chronic. Chronic urticaria can begin when the immune system attacks the body’s own tissue and thus a Autoimmune reaction caused.
Antibodies (proteins that usually fight bacteria and viruses) cause the release of histamine.
This substance causes hives.
The rash can appear localized or manifest anywhere on the body, from the neck to the knees.
It rarely affects the hands, feet and face, in contrast to angioedema.
Chronic urticaria may also cause angioedema, which causes Urticaria-angioedema syndrome is caused.
In addition to the wheals on the skin, swelling (edema) can occur on:
Urticaria angioedema syndrome requires medical attention because it can cause breathing problems and suffocation.
It is thought that one third to half of the cases with chronic urticaria have an autoimmune cause.
The reason why autoimmune urticaria develops is not known, although it often arises with other autoimmune diseases, such as:
- Rheumatoid arthritis – the immune system attacks the joints;
- Lupus – the immune system attacks joints and skin and causes severe fatigue;
- Celiac disease – intolerance to gluten.
In rare cases, chronic urticaria can also be caused by:
Chronic urticaria often comes and goes.
Other types of urticaria:
1. Urticaria factitia (also known as dermographic) is characterized by injuries and itching caused by low pressure, chafing and scratching of the skin.
2. Urticaria gigantea exists if the affected area is very extensive.
3. Urticaria pigmentosa often occurs in children and especially on the upper and lower extremities or on the trunk.
Other symptoms caused are:
4. Vascular urticaria or urticaria vasculitis is a subtype characterized by a few wheals that are unusual in shape and last a few days. Other symptoms of urticaria vasculitis are:
5. Aquagenic physical urticaria is a rare form caused by exposure to water of any temperature.
Sweat, tears and sea water can cause wheals to form.
6. Cholinergic urticaria
Cholinergic urticaria is a subtype of urticaria and a reaction caused by body heat or sweat secretion.
The symptoms can also occur because of:
- a hot shower,
- a meal with spicy foods,
- physical exertion,
People who suffer from this condition then develop a rash, but have no other symptoms.
Causes of Cholinergic Urticaria
As soon as the hypothalamus registers an increase in body temperature in the brain, it sends a pulse to the neurons that activate the sweat glands.
The neurons release a neurotransmitter, the so-called acetylcholine, which stimulates the release of histamine and heparin through the mast cells of the skin (mast cell degranulation).
This degranulation leads to diffuse histamine release near the sweat glands.
The histamine activates an inflammatory reaction in the surrounding tissue and provokes:
When the sweat is released (which is difficult for people suffering from cholinergic urticaria), the skin reaction stops.
7. Stress-induced urticaria
Chronic stress and nervousness can trigger an attack from psychosomatic urticaria. With chronic stress or anxiety, the body secretes higher amounts of cortisol and adrenaline (stress hormones).
This is important when controlling a stressful situation.
But when the body is constantly in this state of tension and these hormones continue to be released into the bloodstream, a hormonal imbalance arises.
Adrenaline and cortisol combine with the skin’s mast cells to produce histamine.
The body responds to constant stress by producing histamine, which can cause urticaria.
Increased cortisol levels in the body cause an allergic skin reaction such as urticaria and can even slow healing.
How to treat stress-induced urticaria
- The best way to treat stress-induced urticaria is to learn some relaxation techniques that help reduce stress.
- yoga, meditation and regular exercise can help reduce stress.
- Many people think that vacation is less stressful, but often the opposite happens. The vacation organization and the programs to be followed can further increase emotional tensions.
In some cases, it would be better to use the vacation allowance to get help with performing activities during the year (for example, doing housework).
- Antihistamines and calamine powder help reduce swelling and itching, which are often associated with urticaria.
Urticaria in children
Cause of urticaria in children
Urticaria is a disease that can affect everyone, but it is much more common in children because their immune systems are still underdeveloped.
It is a condition characterized by itchy rash all over the body.
This disease usually goes away on its own, but in some cases it is inevitable to see a doctor.
Children easily develop urticaria. But as long as the cause is unknown, the disease cannot be prevented or treated.
Causes of urticaria
Urticaria is caused by the release of histamine due to a hypersensitivity reaction.
The most common symptom is the development of small red ones stains all over the body.
Sometimes the rash disappears on one part of the body and forms again on another. The cause of urticaria in children can vary, it can be a secondary effect in other serious diseases.
Urticaria is usually the result of an allergic reaction in children.
Allergies can occur in the form of urticaria. The most common allergies are caused by:
- animal hair,
- some preservatives,
Urticaria can also occur if a child is narrowed in too tight clothes or made from irritating materials such as polyester.
Infections caused by bacteria, viruses or other parasitic microorganisms can cause urticaria in children.
Runny nose can also cause urticaria.
Stinging of the nettle
The nettle is a group of plants that has hair on the leaves compared to other plant species.
Nettles have nettle hair.
Touching this plant causes severe skin irritation.
Responses to pharmaceuticals
Some medications, such as ibuprofen, can cause urticaria in children as a side effect.
It is possible that urticaria occurs if the child’s body does not tolerate any medication.
If children are unexpectedly exposed to large temperature fluctuations, this can lead to urticaria.
Moving from a cold region to a warmer area, and vice versa, is a known cause of this condition.
Similarly, prolonged exposure to the sun or the cold can cause urticaria in children.
Not many people know that urticaria can also be triggered by a high level of stress in children.
In rare cases, the cause of urticaria is a serious condition such as:
This happens because the immune system is weakened in such diseases.
Finally, it can also be an idiopathic urticaria, that is, a cause is not known.
In these cases, the disease usually goes away on its own.
Factors that cause histamine secretion
Histamine is contained in the skin’s mast cells.
What are the factors that cause the release of histamine in the skin?
- sun exposure
Eating fish, especially crustaceans, can cause rashes such as urticaria.
Nuts, eggs, milk and strawberries are some of the foods that trigger histamine release and can cause urticaria.
The body may respond to medication such as antibiotics or non-steroidal anti-inflammatories by releasing histamine if they are used for a long time.
- Insect bite
An allergic reaction after an insect bite can lead to considerable swelling. If it is a mosquito bite or the bite of a spider, sensitive skin can respond with the release of histamine, which causes urticaria.
- Viruses and bacteria
Exposure to various viruses or bacteria can cause a diffuse rash. You can see reddened plaques all over the body.
- thyroid disease
The thyroid gland is located in the neck area and produces hormones that regulate the metabolism in the body.
Malfunction of the thyroid gland can lead to increased or decreased hormone production.
Dysfunction of the thyroid gland can cause symptoms such as urticaria on the skin.
Urticaria is contagious?
No, urticaria is not contagious or infectious.
The problem of urticaria is not the transfer from one person to another.
Furthermore, the newborn will be healthy if a young woman suffers from urticaria during her pregnancy.
If urticaria is the only reaction of the body, there is no need to worry about it, because it is not dangerous.
Signs and symptoms of urticaria
- Urticaria manifests itself with red, raised spots and wheals.
- The main symptoms are itching and a burning sensation on the skin.
- This type of rash can get worse and spread to other parts of the body.
- The spots of hives can be as small as a dot or the size of a coin.
The stains usually disappear within a few hours. However, chronic urticaria can last longer than 6 weeks.
The doctor must rule out other skin diseases, for example:
1. atopic dermatitis,
2. Contact dermatitis,
3. Urticaria vasculitis,
4. Sunburn or burn,
5. Angioedema (common for urticaria).
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