Urticaria is a type of allergic skin rash that is more commonly referred to as hives. Urticaria may occur as the result of an allergic reaction to some substance or as a symptom of various skin disorders, although in some cases a direct cause is never found. Urticaria symptoms may vary depending on the type of urticaria and the direct reason for the hives. Common urticaria symptoms include itching, rash, and swelling. These symptoms may become worse when exposed to certain foods, fabrics, or other environmental triggers.
Physical urticaria is a condition that causes hives to develop due to direct stimulation of the skin. The most common form of physical urticaria is known as dermographia. Urticaria symptoms when this condition is present include raised areas of red, itchy welts in the area where the skin has been rubbed or scratched. These raised areas may occasionally cause pain or a burning sensation.
Cholinergic urticaria is another form of physical urticaria. Patients with this type of hives may experience urticaria symptoms such as the development of several small, itchy bumps on the skin. This condition is triggered by such things as hot water hitting the skin during a shower or any type of physical exertion. These symptoms tend to last for only a few minutes and are often completely gone before the patient has a chance to get to a doctor for evaluation. Other physical urticaria symptoms may be triggered by temperature changes, sunlight, or contact with water.
Chronic urticaria is a condition that causes frequent outbreaks of hives, often occurring every day for several weeks or months. While these symptoms are the same as other forms of urticaria, this condition can last for decades. In most cases of chronic urticaria, the cause for the condition is never found. Regardless of the type of urticaria present, it is important to see a doctor for further evaluation and possible treatment options.
Urticaria, or hives, can sometimes be the result of a severe allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis. Allergic reactions can occur due to foods, medications, or any number of other environmental factors. Common symptoms include hives, difficulty breathing, and swelling. The swelling may occur anywhere on the body but is most common on the face, tongue, or throat. This can be a potentially fatal complication and requires immediate medical attention in order to save the life of the patient.