Learn about the causes of Urticaria & find a practitioner in Auckland, Hamilton, Bay of Plenty, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin to help you overcome Urticaria within New Zealand.
Therapies which may benefit Urticaria
Urticaria, more commonly known as hives, is an allergic reaction to a
substance or food, and can also be caused by stress. It results in red,
itchy skin welts, which are an inflammatory reaction in the skin.
Causes of urticaria
Urticaria is categorised as either acute or chronic and can be triggered by a number of factors.
urticaria is caused by a release of histamine from under the skin.
Histamine causes tiny blood vessels to dilate and leak fluid which then
gathers causing a rash. While half of all urticaria cases have no known
cause, common triggers include:
urticaria isn't usually activated by these triggers but is an
autoimmune response by the body. Autoimmune reactions are caused by the
body releasing antibodies to fight infections which results in the
release of histamine. The antibodies are released for no known reason,
however the autoimmune reaction has been attributed to factors such as:
- Medications – e.g. aspirin, antibiotics
- Food allergies – commonly nuts, shellfish, strawberries, chocolate
- Infections – e.g. influenza, colds, glandular fever
- Irritants – e.g. chemicals, insect bites, nettles
- Physical factors – e.g. sunlight, exercise, heat, cold, pressure
In some cases, chronic urticaria is caused by illness and infection such as thyroid problems or hepatitis.
- tight-fitting clothes
Symptoms of urticaria
The main symptom of urticaria is a pink or red rash on the skin. The
rash appears as a number of wheals which are oval in shape and itchy.
Wheals can appear anywhere on the body and in acute urticaria the rash
can last for several days or even weeks. In the case of chronic
urticaria, symptoms last for six weeks or more.
of urticaria can sometimes indicate an anaphylaxis reaction which is
extremely serious. Other symptoms of anaphylaxis may include:
If you experience these symptoms along with urticaria then seek emergency medical attention immediately.
- swollen lips, tongue, throat or mouth lining
- difficulty breathing
- increased heart rate
- extreme anxiety
- feeling faint
Diagnosis of urticaria
A GP will make a diagnosis of urticaria by examining the rash on your
skin. What caused your urticaria may prove difficult given that half of
all cases have no know cause however the GP may ask a few questions
identifying potential triggers you can avoid them in the future. Most
cases of acute urticaria resolve themselves within a few days.
- where you work
- do you have pets
- what you eat
- do you take any medications
- have you been on holiday recently
- have you had any previous illnesses or infections
- is there a family history of the condition
the case of chronic urticaria (symptoms that last more than six weeks),
the GP may refer you for further tests to identify any underlying cause
of the condition.
- blood test (for anaemia)
- stool sample (for intestinal parasites)
- ESR (erythrocyte sedimentation rate) test to check your immune system
- thyroid function test
- liver function test
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