Urticaria is a
type of rash which is made up of wheals. (A wheal is a temporary raised area
of the skin which is often itchy.) Because the rash looks like that which is
caused by stinging nettles, urticaria is sometimes referred to as nettle rash.
It can also be
known as hives or welts.
In some cases,
the cause of urticaria is unknown. When the cause is known, it is often due
to an allergic reaction of some sort. Foods such as nuts and seafood for example,
can cause some people to break out in hives. Other examples include:
- Physical stimuli.
These can include sunlight, feelings of warmth or cold or continuous pressure
on the skin, such as from a belt.
- Contact with
pollen or fungal spores.
- Some medication.
- Insect bites
or contact with certain animals or fish, such as stinging jellyfish.
- Contact with
certain plants, such as nettles.
- Urticaria may
break out as the result of some sort of an infection.
- Certain substances
can cause urticaria if they come in contact with the skin, such as perfume.
does urticaria look like?
Urticaria is a
rash that is made up of wheals, which look like little bumps on the skin. They
are usually red in colour, and can have a whitish top.
The rash can be
of different shapes and sizes, and is often itchy.
often affects the arms, legs, face and external genitalia, although they can
appear anywhere on the skin.
I get urticaria more than once?
can recur, or it can be a one-off.
long does urticaria last?
Urticaria may only
last a few hours. However sometimes the rash disappears, only to return later
in a different place. In some cases, urticaria can recur weeks after the initial
I seek medical treatment if I get urticaria?
It depends. If
you get acute urticaria, the rash will begin within an hour of exposure to the
allergen or physical stimulus. (For this reason it is often possible to identify
what is causing the rash.) Urticaria will then occur every time the person comes
into contact with that allergen, such as a particular plant or stimulus, for
example a belt that is too tight. In such cases, avoidance of the allergen or
stimulus may be all that is needed; therefore medical treatment may not be required.
However if you
do not know what is causing the urticaria, or if the rash persists beyond a
few hours, you should visit your doctor.
A person may have
chronic urticaria, in which the rash lasts for weeks. If your rash is persistent,
visit your doctor for advice on possible treatments.
If you discover
that you are allergic to insect bites or bee stings, be aware of the precautions
you need to take, such as having a bee-sting kit with you, especially during
child sometimes gets urticaria during the summer. A friend of mine told me that
she will grow out of this. Is this true?
In some cases it
can be true. In many cases, the tendency to develop urticaria decreases as a
person gets older.
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