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Urticaria (Hives)

Urticaria (hives) is a common disease that emerges and recovers in a short time and is characterized with redness, swell and itch attacks on the skin. It’s one of the most frequently encountered skin diseases.

What's Angioedema?

Angioedema is a type of urticaria that emerges deeper in the skin and shows symptoms of swelling, itch and feeling of burn-sting. It’s often seen on eyelids, lips and sometimes inside the mouth. It can be swelly and painful when it affected the hands. It may cause serious symptoms such as shortness of breath and difficulty in swallowing when the mouth interior is affected. Angioedema and urticaria may both be seen separately and together.

What Causes Angioedema and Urticaria?

The cause of the complaints in both is histamine release from the allergy cells (mast cells) in the skin. Physical factors such as exercise, pressure on the skin, cold and foods, drinks, medicines and infections may stimulate these cells. In some patients with chronic urticaria, individual’s own immune system structures in his/her blood circulation (autoantibody) stimulate histamine release from the mast cells in the skin. The reason for urticaria can not be always determined.

What Are The Symptoms of Urticaria-Angioedema?

There are red, itchy swells seen in urticaria which disappears in 24 hours. While these swells may merge and reach to bigger sizes, they may also remain small, recover at their center and look like circles. Angioedema shows symptoms in the forms of swells often seen on eyelids, lips, palms and soles. Sometimes there may be swells emerging inside the mouth or esophagus. And this causes complaints of shortness of breath and difficulty in swallowing in patients. Remission of angioedema swells usually takes more than 24 hours.

Which Factors Trigger The Disease?

Most often triggering factors are:

  • Infections: Acute upper respiratory infections especially cold and flu.
  • Medicines: Any kind of medicine may cause urticaria but painkillers, muscle relaxants and antibiotics are the medicines causing it the most. In addition, some blood pressure medicines (ACE inhibitors) may cause angioedema.
  • Alcohol, food and additives: Foods such as hazelnut, walnut, fish, tomato and strawberry may rarely be responsible of urticaria.
  • Some allergens like house dust and pet feathers.
  • Intestine parasites
  • Hyper stress
  • Physical factors

What Is The Treatment Of Urticaria?

The most important thing in urticaria is to avoid factors that worsen it. You need to avoid some food products and medicines during urticaria treatment as advised by your doctor. Stress and psychological problems are among the most significant reasons that cause urticaria. You must keep away from stress as much as possible and use the medicines below in necessary cases.

Most often used medicines;

  • Antihistamines; Medicines that fix itch and swell in many patients and are primarily used in treatment. It’s very important for a successful treatment to regularly use these medicines daily (whether there’s swells or not) for they hinder the emerging of unsettling symptoms of the disease. In cases they fall short suppressing the disease, your doctor may increase the dosage of the medicine. Long time use of medicines may be necessary in some cases as the duration of the disease varies from person to person.
  • Medicines affecting the immune system (like steroids and cyclosporine) may be used in stubborn and occasional cases.
  • While swell on tongue and throat is not common they’re still among the symptoms of angioedema. In case of this rarely seen symptom which threatens life, you must consult the nearest health unit.