URTICARIA (HIVES) AND ANGIOEDEMA
What is Hives (Urticaria) and Angioedema?
Hives are weals over the skin are medically known as urticaria. There are many types and causes of urticaria but most often urticaria occurs due to an unknown cause. It is an allergic phenomenon. Angioedema is similar to Urticaria but it affects a deeper skin layer.
What are the symptoms of Urticaria and Angioedema?
Urticaria presents as red itchy lesions over the skin that are raised over rest of the skin area. They occur in various shapes and sizes. Urticaria can occur anywhere on the body. It is very common disease and cause often is unknown. It resolves by itself and is rarely life-threatening. Angioedema can spread rapidly leading to skin rash and swelling. If it involves the throat it may lead to difficulty in breathing and can be life threatening.
What are the types of Urticaria?
Urticaria is divided into three categories:
What are known causes of Urticaria and Angioedema?
- Acute: It is also known as hives and the lesions are short lived.
- Chronic: Urticaria that lasts for 6 weeks is called as chronic urticaria.
- Physical: Urticaria is triggered by physical factors such as heat, light, cold, pressure on the skin and even water. The weals usually appear within minutes and last for less than an hour.
In most patients, the causes of Urticaria and Angioedema are unknown. Less than 10% of the patient can relate their symptoms to exposure to certain medications, foods or foods additives, infections, physical contact, immune disorder or some type of illness.
How is diagnosis of Urticaria and Angioedema made?
Diagnosis of Urticaria can be made on clinical symptoms.
What should you do if your child gets Urticaria or Angioedema?
If your child is getting acute irritation and red patches with uneasiness, contact your family physician for early management. The doctor may prescribe certain medications such as antihistamines for controlling the urticaria. If there is swelling that is rapidly progressing, then the doctor may prescribe steroids in addition.
How can Urticaria and Angioedema be prevented?
If the source of allergy is known, avoiding the allergen may be useful. In most cases, it can’t be prevented because source of illness is not known.
Last updated on 01-03-2007