HIVES OR URTICARIA

‘Urticaria’ is a skin condition where the patient complains of red, raised, annular, itchy, burning, inflamed wheals, which usually go off within a day or two, but occur recurrently. Hives often result from allergic reactions to certain foods (especially butter, cheese, chocolates, cucumber, eggs, fish, food additives, liquorice, mushrooms, nuts, oatmeal, sausages, shellfish, strawberries, tomatoes, wheat, etc.) and certain drugs (especially NSAID’s like aspirin, ibuprofen); insect bites (bites of bedbugs, bees, certain caterpillars, flies, mosquitoes, wasps, etc.); cosmetic applications; stress factors or emotional upsets; during pregnancy; sudden change in weather; a hot shower and certain illnesses (like viral hepatitis, infectious mononucleosis, HIV, SLE, worms, etc.). These factors cause the skin cells to release histamine, which makes the fluid leak from the capillaries into the skin thus resulting in the formation of wheals. The outbreak of urticaria is sudden and may affect any part or the whole body. The eruptions may fade in a few minutes or an hour in one place, but can occur in another place.

To give immediate relief to the patient, rub an ice cube over the hives. Wear loose clothes especially cotton ones.

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