Urticaria is the clinical term for hives, which are defined as red, itchy, raised areas of skin that appear in various shapes and sizes. Hives can appear anywhere on the body and for various lengths of time. While the causes of hives can vary dramatically, in most clinical cases a specific cause is never found. therefore, urticaria treatment usually consists of relieving symptoms while the underlying condition goes away on its own.
Hives are produced by the production of histamine, a compound released from skin cells that causes blood vessels to leak fluid into surrounding tissues. Histamine release often occurs in reaction to various allergic agents such as food, medication, and insect stings.
However, hives can also be triggered by direct physical stimulation including temperature extremes, physical exercise, water and sun. one of the unique trademarks of hives is their tendency to move around the body and to change size and shape rapidly. Individual hives last anywhere from 2 to 24 hours, while outbreaks can change quickly. Thus, taking photographs of outbreaks at their peak can aid doctors in urticaria treatment.
Treatment of hives can include the following. Keeping a food and/or symptom diary for an established length of time (usually two weeks) can sometimes identify specific triggers of an outbreak. Prolonged use of a diary is not helpful; however, if a trigger is identified, simple avoidance of the food, medication, or physical activity or other agent is the most effective form of management. most cases of hives are not so easily resolved, however. Referral to a dermatologist or allergist may be warranted in prolonged cases.
While hives can be a cause of great frustration, they are not life-threatening except in very rare instances. Hives can have multiple triggers, from allergic reactions to food, medication, and insect stings to physical reactions to temperature, physical exercise and water. Treatment of hives can include identifying and avoiding triggers or taking antihistamines. As with any skin disorder, consulting a health care professional regularly is essential for urticaria treatment and management.
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