Urticaria (aka hives) is a rash that is red, raised with welts that develop on the superficial surface of the skin. They are most commonly itchy, but can also be painful or burn. Common causes for urticaria are thyroid disorders, autoimmune disorders, low vitamin D, exposure to heat or cold, insect stings or bites, or exposure to other allergens such as animals, pollens, latex, food, or medications. This list is not all-inclusive. Urticaria can be acute or chronic.
Acute urticaria can last anywhere from a few minutes up to six weeks. In younger children, viral infections can sometimes be the cause of urticaria. Symptoms will typically resolve within six weeks without medication. Antibiotics will not help with urticaria due to viral infections because viruses do not respond to antibiotics.
Chronic urticaria persists longer than six weeks. The cause of chronic urticaria is often unknown. In most cases, non-sedating antihistamines are used as first-line treatment. Other treatment measures may include keeping the skin moisturized, loose fitting clothing, avoidance of known triggers, and if your provider feels necessary medicated creams may help to minimize symptoms.
Urticaria can develop at any time in a person’s’ life, and should be monitored by a physician that is familiar with the condition.
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