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General Practice 2023

Urticária: what é, symptoms and main causes

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Urticária: what é, symptoms and main causes
Urticária: what é, symptoms and main causes

Urticaria is an allergic skin reaction, caused by insect bites, allergies or temperature variations, for example, which manifests itself through reddish spots, which cause itching and swelling.

Usually, hives symptoms last up to 24 hours, disappearing without leaving marks or scars. However, the spots can reappear in other parts of the body, persisting for about 6 weeks, and this type of urticaria is called chronic urticaria.

Urticaria can be controlled by avoiding exposure to triggering factors and, in some cases, through the use of some medications, such as anti-allergy.

Symptoms of hives

The main symptoms of hives include the appearance of reddish spots that become swollen, itchy and, in more severe cases, swelling of the lips, eyes and throat and difficulty breathing, which requires immediate medical assistance. These symptoms can be localized to a specific region of the skin or spread throughout the body, depending on the cause.

Main causes

The causes of hives can be varied, but the most common include:

  • Insect bite;
  • Allergy to clothing fabric, pollen, latex, sweat, for example;
  • Food coloring or preservatives;
  • Excessive stress;
  • Extreme heat or cold;
  • Food such as peanuts, eggs, seafood;
  • Infections such as mononucleosis;
  • Medicines;
  • Cleaning products, toxic products or toxic plants;
  • Diseases such as lupus or leukemia.

It is not always possible to discover the cause of urticaria, however, the allergist doctor may perform blood tests and allergy tests to try to better understand the symptoms and adapt the treatment.

Types of hives

The main types of urticaria are acute urticaria and chronic urticaria, according to the duration of the allergy. However, hives can be divided according to their cause, such as:

  • Emotional urticaria or nervous urticaria: it is related to emotional factors, such as excess stress or anxiety and, therefore, the symptoms are more intense during phases of greater tension. Learn more about this type of hives;
  • Cholinergic urticaria: appears after an increase in body temperature, due to hot baths, ingestion of hot foods or physical exercise, for example, and the symptoms last about 90 minutes;
  • Urticaria pigmentosa: caused by excess immune system cells in the skin, known as mast cells, being more common in babies and children;
  • Contact urticaria: appears after contact with allergenic substances, such as latex or resin, for example;
  • Solar urticaria: caused by exposure to the sun and, therefore, the patient should avoid being exposed to sunlight.

In addition to these, there is also urticaria vasculitis, which is a rarer type of urticaria that causes inflammation of the veins, which can cause symptoms such as pain or burning at the affected site.

How the treatment is done

Treatment of urticaria should begin by washing the affected area with soap and water to eliminate an allergic substance, if possible. Also, in cases where it is not possible to identify the cause of hives and the symptoms are very intense, the doctor may prescribe anti-allergic drugs, such as loratadine, cetirizine and hydroxyzine, for example, or topical or oral corticosteroid drugs, to relieve the itching and swelling.It is also possible to use cold compresses or soothing creams to reduce the symptoms of hives.

Learn more about how this problem is treated, according to the type of urticaria.

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