Uriticaria, also known as Hives, is a condition wherein pale red hued bumps appear on the skin out of the blue. These bumps are often itchy and cause a lot of problems to the sufferer due to the unending scratching. Uriticaria wheals are the common terms referring to the swollen red bumps on the skin. The condition can be triggered by allergic or non-allergic reactions in the body. Most of the times, the uriticaria triggered by allergies do not last longer than six weeks. Consequently, this is also the time when the allergies can last. This condition is called acute uriticaria. However, it can also last for longer than six weeks. In this case, it is called chronic uriticaria and is not triggered by allergic reactions.
There are many symptoms of uriticaria. The first symptom is the appearance of the wheals, which are bumps on the skin, surrounded by a pale red area on the base. Additional symptoms include dizziness, swelling on the face (especially in the lips or tongue), and tightness in the chest, breathing difficulties and wheezing. If any of the additional symptoms appear along with the uriticaria wheals, then you must immediately go and consult a doctor.
Statistically, about 60-70% cases of wheals are born by allergies. The reasons behind chronic uriticaria are not known till date. It can be attributed to autoimmune reactions, acute infections in the body etc. There are a very small percentage of people who suffer from uriticaria wheals due to pressure, temperature fluctuations or even friction of the skin. Let us discuss the common causes of wheals:
- Allergic reactions- The allergies can be induced either by food or by medications like aspiring and antidiabetic drugs. This type of wheals would disappear completely within 6 weeks, as soon as the allergy is taken care of.
- Infections- Normally parasitic infections in the body are supposed to be the reasons behind uriticaria. Acute infections of the boy can also be blamed for the same.
- Autoimmune reactions- Most of the idiopathic cases of uriticaria wheals can be triggered by autoimmune reactions in the body. In layman terms, it is a condition in which the body identifies its own cells as harmful pathogens and tries to destroy them.
- Dermatographic reasons- scratching, pressurizing and irritating the skin may also result in the appearance of uriticaria wheals.
- Temperature induced hives- Finding uriticaria wheals in the body when it is exposed to extremely cold temperatures is a very common phenomenon. However, there are rare cases when continuous exposure to heat may also cause it.
Curing Uriticaria Wheals can be simple or tricky, depending upon the kind of wheals that you have and the possible causes behind it. While acute uriticaria is still treatable with ease, chronic uriticaria demands a difficult treatment procedure and also creates problems for the sufferer for a longer duration of time. Overall, we can say that the only possible way of treating uriticaria wheals is to identify the cause and then take appropriate medications for the same.
Treatment options for uriticaria wheals
The first medication to be prescribed by your doctor would be an anti-allergen or an antihistamine drug. The anti-allergen drugs will help in removing any allergies in your body while the antihistamine drugs will make sure that the sufferers get relief from itching and other symptoms. However, in more severe cases, the focus would entirely be on providing corticosteroids along with the antihistamines. You can also be given injections for epinephrine along with other kinds of steroid medications.
Maintenance of the Symptoms
Even if the uriticaria wheals are born out of allergic reactions, it might take as many as six weeks to go away completely. This is a fairly long time and you must know how to take care of the uriticaria wheals properly. Here are a few things you can do in order to maintain a status quo with your allergy and also make sure that the symptoms are lessened.
- Don’t bathe or wash your hands with hot water. This would irritate the uriticaria wheals and cause more itching. The best way to bathe or wash would be using Luke warm water for the skin. This would be especially good for the people who have cold induced uriticaria.
- Never use harsh soaps for the uriticaria wheals. Make sure that the soap is always gentle and mild. Same goes for shower gels or anything else that you use to wash your body.
- Wherever you find the uriticaria wheals, make sure you apply wet clothes or cold compresses. However, make it a point that you consult your doctor before using cold compresses.
- Do not wear tight fitting clothes. In that case, friction and sweating would irritate the wheals further. Therefore, go only for loose clothing, especially at the affected area.