Wednesday, February 4, 2009

What are hives, whelps, and urticaria?

The term urticaria is derived from the Latin word uro, meaning to burn, and the nettle urticaria, the leaves of which produce a stinging sensation when touching the skin. This is a common skin condition, often characterized by itchy, transient hives or wheals.

What is the appearance of urticaria?

These lesions can change in size and shape, often lasting less than 24 hours. They can have an oval, raised appearance, with redness and occasional swelling on the skin surface.

What is the cause of urticaria?

The cause of this skin condition is identifiable in fewer than 25% to 50% of cases. Frequent cases include medications, inhaled allergens, food allergens, physical or environmental exposures, including heat, cold, light, vibration, pressure and elevating the core body temperature, and occasionally, illness. Less commonly, internal disorders can be detected as the cause of urticaria.

How will ADAC evaluate me for urticaria?

Diagnosis is based on history, physical exam, skin testing, and bloodwork.

How can ADAC help me treat urticaria?

Avoidance: If the cause of the condition is known, then you are to avoid the precipitant. For example, if you suspect a medication has caused the reaction, then discontinue medication immediately. If heat precipitates itching and/or reaction, then use cool, tepid water and avoid exertion.

Medication: Antihistamines are the mainstay of treatment, and steroids are often used as well.

1 comment:

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