There are many different types of Urticaria and is more commonly known as Hives or nettle rash because it is characterised by raised pink welts that appear on the skin in response to an allergic reaction that involves the release of histamine, bradykinin, the slow reactive substance of anaphylaxis, and kallikrein as vasoactive mediators derived from either mast cells and basophils or other immunologic mechanisms that involve the IgE mediated hypersensitivity response. There is an increased number of eosinophils in the blood initially near the inflammation site that is considered an allergic response.
Under this heading is Giant Urticaria, Hives and Angioneurotic Oedema which can be differentiated in the following way.
Urticaria is a localised response in the superficial dermis and can be more noticeable at either certain times of the day when the body temperature may be raised or as a person becomes emotional. As the swelling increases it becomes itchy.
Angioedema is a deeper condition involving more tissue deeper within the dermis and subcutaneous levels. It may also involve the mucous membranes. The oedema is much more pronounced as more layers of the skin are involved. If the swelling which is more pronounced in this condition.
- Drug Allergy.
- Insect stings.
- Desensitisation injections.
- Ingestion of certain foods.
- Food additives.
- Airborne particles.
- Plant allergies.
- First symptoms of several viral infections that include hepatitis, infectious mononucleosis, rubella, jaundice.
- Diseases such as renal disease and lymphoma.
- Autoimmune diseases such as lupus erythematosus and thyroiditis.
- Chemical allergy from household cleaners to work related chemicals such as hairdressers.
- Sometimes the cause or trigger remains unknown(idiopathic).
- Some people may only have one episode that does not re-occur.
- Some people have intermittent episodes over a period of years that may be related to stress or illness.
- Physical urticaria caused by a force or pressure to the skin.
- It affects about 15-20% of the population in NZ. and in general does not have a high mortality rate except where anaphalactic shock is involved. Where the respiratory tract is involved or swelling of the tongue that can obstruct the throat and trachea (pharyngeal/laryngeal angioedema) leading to the lungs. Usually associated more with angioedema.
- Urticaria is broken down into degrees of inflammation dependant on how long the condition has persisted (hours, days, weeks). It does usually resolve itself with the immediate treatment of the symptoms.
- Acute conditions arise quickly and persist for hours or a few days(1-7).
- Chronic conditions involve six plus weeks without resolution of the symptoms. The most serious being related to autoimmune disease. Within this range 20% may have the condition for ten years or more. This is usually associated with circulating antibodies that are retained in the body after a prior immune response (80 -90%) of cases. The mast cells release excessive amounts of inflammatory mediators mentioned above.
- Pruritus - itching of the skin or an uncomfortable skin sensation that leads to scratching of the skin.
- Followed by the appearance of wheals from 1-5mm.
- The wheals can enlarge where the larger ones can be clear in the centre and may be noticed as rings 20cm or bigger or erythema (inflammation and redness that is the result of dilation and congestion of the superficial capillaries) and oedema (swelling resulting from excessive accumulation of serous fluid in a specified location in the body). They also have a clearly defined border.
- Lesions may occur through scratching and may remain on the site.
- Types of Urticaria
- Cholinergic urticaria
- Pressure urticaria
- Papular urticaria
- Cold urticaria
- Aquagenic urticaria
- Contact urticaria
- Exercise induced anaphylaxis
This condition has been shown to respond to herbal remedies.
For ongoing treatment:
Contact us for alternative treatment advice.