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Definition

Urticaria, otherwise known as hives, is an itchy rash characterised by raised, red welts on the surface of the skin. The rash can affect any area of skin. Small raised areas called weals develop on the skin. The weals look like mild blisters and are itchy. Each weal is white or red and is usually surrounded by a small red area of skin which is called a flare.  At least 50% of patients with an initial diagnosis of CIU do not have detectable autoantibodies; these are properly designated as cases of presumptive chronic 'idiopathic' urticaria. Approximately 1 in 6 people will develop hives some time during their life and are most common in children. They eventually disappear in most people. They may reappear following infection, when under stress or for no particular reason. there are different kind of urticaria

  • Cold urticaria
  • Cholinergic urticaria
  • Chronic urticaria
  • Angiodema urticaria
  • solar urticaria
  • Acute urticaria

Causes

The cause of chronic urticaria is much more difficult to identify. It often ends up being diagnosed as chronic idiopathic urticaria - which means the cause is unknown! Certain parasitic infections, blood pressure drugs or stress may trigger it. The most common foods that cause urticaria are:  nuts, chocolate, shellfish, tomatoes, eggs,  berries, and milk. Fresh foods cause hives more often than cooked foods. Food additives and preservatives may also cause hives

Symptoms

It is characterized by raised, red skin welts that are more than 5mm in diameter. Hives are extremely itchy, and often have a pale border surrounding the red area. The urticarial rash can be isolated or many, sometimes they join together and form a large area of raised, red rash.

Treatment

Homeopathy treatment is extremely effective for urticaria. If you have been taking daily doses of anti-histaminic or steroids, homeopathy can reduce or stop your needs for those chemical based medicines. The use of rose-water in vinegar is useful when there is severe itching on the eruption. About 35 ml of rose water and 25 ml of vinegar should be mixed and the mixture applied locally to the affected part. This will give immediate relief.

The most well tolerated initial treatment is the non-sedating antihistamine Claritin. Zyrtec is similar but may sometimes cause sedation. If that doesn't eliminate the hives, a sedating-type of antihistamine (hydroxyzine, cyproheptadine or doxepin) is added at night. High doses may be needed and this will cause sedation. Fortunately, most patients will become less affected by sedation after they have taken the drug regularly for a while.

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