Urticaria (Hives) and Angioedema

Jagdish Kathwate
More..
print
Urticaria (Hives) and Angioedema - Patient Education
What is Urticaria and Angioedema?
Hives, also known as urticaria, are an outbreak of swollen, pale red bumps, patches, or welts on the skin that appear suddenly -- either as a result of allergies, or for other reasons.Hives usually cause itching, but may also burn or sting. They can appear anywhere on the body, including the face, lips, tongue, throat, or ears. Hives vary in size from a pencil eraser to a dinner plate, and may join together to form larger areas known as plaques. They can last for hours, or up to several days before fading.
Angioedema is similar to hives, but the swelling occurs beneath the skin instead of on the surface. Angioedema is characterized by deep swelling around the eyes and lips and sometimes of the genitals, hands, and feet. It generally lasts longer than hives, but the swelling usually goes away in less than 24 hours.

What Causes urticaria and Angioedema?
Angioedema or Urticaria form when, in response to histamine, blood plasma leaks out of small blood vessels in the skin. Histamine is a chemical released from specialized cells along the skin's blood vessels.Allergic reactions, chemicals in foods, insect stings, sunlight exposure, or medicines can all cause histamine release. Sometimes, it's impossible to find out exactly why hives have formed.
There are several different types, including:
• Acute urticaria and/or angioedema: Hives or swelling lasting less than six weeks. The most common causes are foods, medicines, latex, or infections. Insect bites and internal disease may also be responsible. The most common foods that cause hives are nuts, chocolate, fish, tomatoes, eggs, fresh berries, soy, wheat, and milk. Fresh foods cause hives more often than cooked foods. Certain food additives and preservatives may also be to blame. Medicines that can cause hives and angioedema include aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatorymedications (NSAIDs, such asibuprofen), high blood pressure medications (ACE inhibitors), or painkillers such as codeine.
• Chronic urticaria and/or angioedema: Hives or swelling lasting more than six weeks. The cause of this type of hives is usually more difficult to identify than those causing acute urticaria and/or angioedema. The causes can be similar to those of acute urticaria but can also include autoimmunity, chronic infections, hormonal disorders, and malignancy.
• Dermatographism: Hives that form after firmly stroking or scratching the skin. These hives can also occur along with other forms of urticaria.
• Hereditary angioedema: This is painful swelling of tissue. It is passed on through families.

How Urticaria and Angioedema are Diagnosed?
find the possible cause of hives or angioedema. Since there are no specific tests for hives -- or the associated swelling of angioedema -- testing will depend on your medical history and a thorough examination by your primary care doctor, allergist, immunologist, or dermatologist.
Skin tests may be performed to determine the substance that you are allergic to.

What Is the Treatment for Hives and Angioedema?
Antihistamines are usually prescribed by doctor or dermatologist to provide relief from symptoms. These drugs may also be taken on a regular schedule to help prevent hives and associated swelling from forming in the first place.Chronic hives may be treated with antihistamines or a combination of medications. When antihistamines don't provide relief, oral corticosteroids may be prescribed.For severe hive or angioedema outbreaks, an injection of epinephrineor a steroid medication may be needed.


References
Urticaria (Hives) and Angioedema Urticaria (Hives) and Angioedema 8/1/2015
<< Treatment of Urticaria and Angioedema
ask doctor
Ask a Doctor
Disclaimer: The information given by www.pediatriconcall.com is provided by medical and paramedical & Health providers voluntarily for display & is meant only for informational purpose. The site does not guarantee the accuracy or authenticity of the information. Use of any information is solely at the user's own risk. The appearance of advertisement or product information in the various section in the website does not constitute an endorsement or approval by Pediatric Oncall of the quality or value of the said product or of claims made by its manufacturer.