Urticaria (urticaria) is an allergic physical reaction in which people suddenly get severe redness, scratches and itching. Skin symptoms can be acute or chronic and can be triggered by various stimuli.
When red and swollen areas suddenly appear, which itch almost unbearably itching, patients first experience a real shock. Itching, in particular, drives many people crazy and forces them to take a cold shower several times a day. These bodily reactions can be signs of a severe allergic reaction. What are the symptoms of hives and what exactly triggers the skin symptoms?
What are the symptoms of hives?
Urticaria or urticaria exhibits characteristic symptoms such as:
- An itchy rash that resembles contact with nettles, in which you feel like rubbing or squeezing your spots
- Development of one or more angioedema, which is a cushion-like swelling of the skin, where fluid accumulates under the tissues of the face, hands, feet, or around the larynx or mucous membranes, which can also cause swelling of the tongue.
- Red, itchy urticaria, which often disappears after a few hours
Rarely, angioedema occurs without pimples or itching. Sudden symptoms of hives can be a sign of anaphylaxis. Allergic shock, which in turn manifests itself in severe symptoms such as circulatory weakness up to collapse, nausea and diarrhea, shortness of breath, tachycardia and anxiety.1.2
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Acute and chronic urticaria
Die spontaneous acute urticariaIt is triggered by, for example, infections or painkillers. The characteristic symptoms come out of nowhere, stay for a few hours or days and disappear completely after a maximum of six weeks. The exact trigger for an allergic reaction often remains unclear, as there is no point in clarifying it once the symptoms have disappeared.
symptoms and spontaneous chronic urticaria persist for more than six weeks or recur from time to time in episodes (chronic-recurrent urticaria). In addition, there are such physical urticaria, which refers to urticaria caused by physical or mechanical stimuli. This means heat, cold or friction, eg B. due to scratched clothing.
How do skin reactions work?
Hives occur when certain triggers stimulate mast cells. These are endogenous cells that belong to leukocytes and help fight pathogens. When activated, they send pro-inflammatory mediators, especially histamine, to the surrounding tissue. The messenger dilates the blood vessels, making them more permeable to water. This causes the skin to turn red and swell. In addition, messengers bind to the nerve fibers, so the sites also begin to itch. Angioedema can also be caused by histamine in deeper tissue.3.4
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What are the possible causes and risk factors?
Possible stimuli that may activate mast cells may be:
- Infections with certain viruses, such as company or common cold viruses
- bacteria such as streptococci
- Foods such as cow’s milk or certain fruits
- Insect stings, such as bee or mosquito bites
- pollen and animal hair
- some medications, such as rheumatism
- cold, heat
Urticaria may also be caused by an autoimmune reaction due to the production of immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies that activate mast cells. Some diseases, such as gallbladder inflammation, can also increase the risk of hives.
How do you diagnose urticaria?
When you visit a doctor, the attending physician first looks at the skin irritation and takes a detailed medical history. The doctor asks exactly when the symptoms first appeared, how long they have existed and most importantly: What possible stimuli may be behind them. If the skin reactions are clear, your doctor will usually diagnose hives quickly.
In the case of acute urticaria, which was triggered, for example, by the use of a certain drug, no further treatment is given after the symptoms have subsided and it is only recommended that the triggers – if known – be avoided. In the case of chronic urticaria, its causes must first be investigated, as this is the only way to treat chronic urticaria effectively.
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What is the possible treatment?
Depending on how long the symptoms have existed and what triggers are behind them, different treatment measures are chosen. The ultimate goal is to become asymptomatic. As a rule, the symptoms are treated first and then the cause is sought. In the case of acute urticaria, this is often not necessary at all, because skin reactions sometimes disappear as quickly as they have come.
For very severe symptoms, your doctor may prescribe a second-generation antihistamine, which may help alleviate skin reactions. If this does not help, the dose may be increased or a medicine that slows down the body’s immune system may be recommended. Cooling and cooling and anesthetic creams help fight local acute rashes. However, these measures should only be taken after consultation with a pharmacist or attending physician.5.6
- 1. zdravý.bund.de. hives. (entered 14.06.2022)
- 2. University Hospital Zurich. hives. (entered 14.06.2022)
- 3. American Academy of Dermatology Association. Hives. (canceled 06/14/2022)
- 4. Hives network eV Forms of hives. (entered 14.06.2022)
- 5. NHSinform. Hives (hives). (entered 14.06.2022)
- 6. Beehive information. Causes. (entered 14.06.2022)