Urticaria, commonly referred to as hives, is a frequent inflammatory skin condition in Texas. It manifests as pinkish to reddish welts on the skin. Predominant symptoms encompass skin inflammation, itchiness, and swelling. Swelling around the eyes or lips is also common, and in extreme cases, there’s a risk of breathing difficulty due to airway and throat swelling. The majority of inflammatory conditions, like urticaria, stem from heightened immune system activity. Triggers could be an allergic response or a more gradual, internal imbalance.
Hives can be classified as “acute urticaria” or “chronic urticaria” based on their duration. Acute urticaria typically resolves within six weeks and is generally linked to allergies. Numerous allergens, including certain edibles like shellfish and nuts, medications, infections, and environmental elements, can cause hives. On the other hand, chronic urticaria persists beyond six weeks. Its origin is often elusive, predominantly being idiopathic. Contemporary research suggests that some cases of chronic urticaria might be autoimmune, where the body’s defenses remain hyperactive. This persistent form of hives can be both perplexing and incapacitating.
The list of possible causes for hives is vast, making it occasionally tough to identify the exact trigger. Both common and less frequent environmental factors contributing to recurring hives include:
Medication-related urticaria: Many medications can spark allergic reactions resulting in hives, with antibiotics and NSAIDs (e.g., Aspirin, Ibuprofen) being primary examples.
Food-related urticaria: While shellfish and nuts are the usual culprits, other foods can also be involved.
Heat-based urticaria: A direct consequence of prolonged heat exposure on the skin. Typically surfaces within minutes and varies in duration.
Cold-based urticaria: Young adults often develop hives on areas like the face, neck, or hands post cold weather exposure.
Cholinergic urticaria: This form is seen post activities that increase body temperature, like exercise or stress. It is marked by tiny, itchy red spots.
Solar Urticaria: Resulting from sun exposure, these hives are contingent on light wavelengths, usually resolving within hours.
Pressure-based urticaria: These hives emerge either immediately or hours post exposure to skin pressure or vibration.
Dermatographic urticaria: A prevalent type of chronic hives, it occurs post skin scratching or firm stroking.
Infection-related urticaria: Some infections, both viral and bacterial, can prompt hives as the body reacts.
Aquagenic urticaria: An incredibly rare form where skin contact with water leads to hives within minutes.
Addressing urticaria often hinges on its root cause. While antihistamines and allergen avoidance might suffice for acute urticaria, severe instances might need corticosteroids like prednisone or a Kenalog shot. Topical corticosteroid creams coupled with menthol-infused moisturizers can diminish inflammation and comfort the skin. Keeping a record of potential triggers is advised for all patients.
Managing chronic urticaria is often intricate with varied success. In cases where topical treatments and antihistamines prove insufficient, immunosuppressant therapy might be explored to mitigate the overzealous immune reaction.
Based on individual symptoms and skin type, our specialists can devise a suitable treatment regimen.