Urticaria which is also known as Hives or pitee in Hindi is characterized by wheals, sudden development of an itchy and red swollen area of skin in an episodic pattern, disturbing the quality of life of an individual. The condition is associated with episodes of intense itching, which is unpredictable. Urticaria may or may not be associated with swelling of the lips, tongue or other parts of the body which can be related to pain and rarely difficulty in breathing.

How long does Urticaria last?

They last for less than 48 hours in the same area of skin, and once they disappear, they don’t leave any scar behind.

Urticaria types

Urticaria can be divided into following types:
  1. Acute – lasts for less than six weeks
  2. Chronic – Lasts for more than six weeks

What is the leading cause of Urticaria?

  1. Acute Urticaria- Causes:
    • Allergy ( food, medications, insect bite)
    • Infections( viral, bacterial or parasitic)
    • Idiopathic ( No cause identifiable)
  2. Chronic Urticaria- Causes:
    • Spontaneous
    • Autoimmune
    • Inducible
  3. Physical Urticaria
    • Dermographic- From heat/cold
    • Aquagenic- Due to water
    • Cholinergic- Due to physical exertion/ Temperature changes
    • Pressure

Treatment of Urticaria

  • Acute Urticaria
    1. avoidance of the trigger factors is the most important.
    2. severe urticarial angioedema causing difficulty in breathing, epinephrine is used.
    3. anti-histamines medicines like cetirizine and fexofenadine and steroids.
  • Chronic Urticaria- most of the patients respond to antihistamine medicines and steroids. Biological agents are used in patients who do not respond to the above drugs.

Which food is not allowed in Urticaria?

Histamine-rich foods to be avoided in Urticaria
  • cheese
  • Yogurt
  • Preserved meats
  • Fruits such as strawberries and cherries
  • Spinach, tomatoes, and eggplant
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Fermented foods
  • Fast food.

How do I permanently get rid of Urticaria?

  1. Antihistamines like cetirizine, hydroxyzine and supervised treatment with a qualified dermatologist.
  2. Diet low in histamine
    • most of the vegetables and plenty of fluids
    • fresh fishes like salmon and cod and meat
    • bread, pasta, rice items like idli
    • grains like rice
    • dairy product except for cheese and yogurt