Urticaria or hives is a reaction of the skin that causes spots or red, violently itchy plaques on the body.
Swelling and itching caused by urticaria can be very pronounced.
The feature that distinguishes them from other skin diseases are red wheals on the surface of the skin.
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 different types of urticaria: acute and chronic.
Acute urticaria Current urticaria
is often caused by:
- Food allergy
- Mosquito bite
- Contact with a substance (for example, nickel) or a drug (for example, paracetamol).
It can last from a few hours to a maximum of six weeks.
If hives persist for more than 6 weeks, it is defined as chronic. Chronic urticaria can begin when the immune system attacks the body’s own tissues, causing an autoimmune reaction.
Antibodies (proteins that usually fight bacteria and viruses) cause the release of histamine.
This substance causes hives.
In chronic urticaria, it is also possible that angioedema occurs, as a result of which urticaria-angioedema syndrome is provoked.
In addition to the wheals on the skin, swelling (edema) may occur on:
Urticaria-angioedema syndrome must be treated by a doctor because it can cause breathing problems and suffocation.
It is believed that one-third to one-half of cases of chronic urticaria have an autoimmune cause.
The reason why autoimmune urticaria develops is not known, although it often develops together with other autoimmune diseases, such as:
- Rheumatoid arthritis – the immune system attacks the joints;
- lupus – the immune system attacks joints and skin, causing severe fatigue;
- Celiac disease – intolerance to gluten.
In rare cases, chronic urticaria can also be caused by:
- other infections (for example, Helicobacter),
- hyperthyroidism (hyperthyroidism),
- hepatitis B or C (infections of the liver),
- intestinal parasites,
- chronic diseases.
Chronic urticaria often comes and passes.
Other types of urticaria:
1.Urticaria factitia (also known as dermographic) is characterized by injuries and itching resulting from low pressure, chafing and scratching of the skin.
2. Urticaria gigantea exists when the affected area is very extensive.
3. Urticaria pigmentosa often occurs in children and especially on the upper and lower extremities or trunk.
Other symptoms caused include:
4.Vascular urticaria or urticaria vasculitis is a subtype characterized by a few wheals that have an unusual shape and last a few days. Other symptoms of urticaria vasculitis include:
5. Aquagenic physical urticaria is a rare form caused by exposure to water of any temperature.
Sweat, tears and seawater can provoke the formation of wheals.
6. Cholinergic urticaria Cholinergic urticaria is a subtype of urticaria
and a reaction caused by body heat or sweat secretion.
The symptoms may 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 otherwise have no other symptoms.
Causes of cholinergic urticaria
Once the hypothalamus in the brain registers an increase in body temperature, it sends an impulse to the neurons that activate the sweat glands.
The neurons release a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine, which stimulates the release of histamine and heparin by 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 tissues and provokes:
When sweat is released (which is difficult in people suffering from cholinergic urticaria), the skin reaction stops.
7. Stress-induced urticaria Chronic stress and nervousness can trigger an attack of psychosomatic urticaria
. In chronic stress or anxiety, the body secretes higher amounts of cortisol and adrenaline (stress hormones).
This is important when controlling a stressful situation.
But if the body is constantly in this state of tension and these hormones are continuously released into the bloodstream, a hormonal imbalance develops.
Adrenaline and cortisol combine with the mast cells of the skin to produce histamine.
The body responds to constant stress with the production of histamine, which can subsequently cause urticaria.
Elevated 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 holidays are associated with less stress, but often the opposite happens. The organization of holidays and the programs to be followed can increase emotional tensions.
In some cases, it would be better to use the holiday allowance to help you carry out the activities that occur during the year (for example, with household chores).
- 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 anyone, but it is much more common in children
because their immune system is still underdeveloped.
It is a condition characterized by itchy rash all over the body.
Usually this disease passes on its own, but in some cases the presentation to a doctor is inevitable.
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 spots all over the body.
Sometimes the rash disappears on one part of the body and forms again elsewhere. The cause of urticaria in children can vary, it can be a secondary effect in other weighty 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 when a child is confined in clothing that is too tight or if it is made of irritating materials, such as polyester.
Infections caused by bacteria, viruses or other parasitic microorganisms can cause urticaria in children.
Rhinitis can also trigger urticaria.
Stings of nettle The nettle
is a group of plants that has hairs on the leaves compared to other plant species.
Stinging nettles have nettle hairs.
Touching this plant causes severe skin irritation.
Reactions to pharmaceuticals Some medications
, such as ibuprofen, can cause urticaria as a side effect in children.
It is possible for urticaria to occur if the child’s body does not tolerate any drug.
Temperature fluctuations If children are unexpectedly exposed to sharp 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 cold can cause urticaria in children.
Not many people know that even in children, urticaria can be triggered by a high level of stress.
In rare cases, the cause of urticaria is a serious disease such as:
This happens because the immune system is weakened in such diseases.
Finally, it can also be idiopathic urticaria, that is, a cause is not known.
In these cases, the disease usually passes on its own.
Factors that cause the secretion of histamine
Histamine is contained in the mast cells of the skin.
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 can trigger a release of histamine and cause urticaria.
The body may respond to taking medications such as antibiotics or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs with a release of histamine if taken for a long time.
An allergic reaction after an insect bite can lead to significant swelling. If it is a mosquito bite or the bite of a spider, sensitive skin may respond with the release of histamine, which causes urticaria.
- Viruses and bacteria
Contact with various viruses or bacteria can cause a diffuse rash. Reddened plaques can be observed everywhere on the body.
- Thyroid disorders
The thyroid gland is located in the neck area and produces hormones that regulate metabolism in the body.
Malfunctions 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.
Is urticaria contagious?
No, urticaria is not contagious or infectious.
The problem of urticaria is not the transmission 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 the feeling of burning sensation on the skin.
- This type of rash can worsen and spread to other areas of the body.
- The spots of hives can be small like a dot or take on the size of a coin.
Usually, the stains disappear within a few hours. However, chronic urticaria can last longer than 6 weeks.
5. angioedema (common in urticaria).
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