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Urticaria also known as hives, is a common and annoying skin problem in which patient gets itchy red wheals that vary in size and shape. Lesions appear and fade away repeatedly. Some patients also develop painful swelling of the lips, eyelids and inside the throat. If the problem persists for more than 6 week and recurs frequently over months or years, it is considered as chronic Urticaria. The cause of chronic urticaria is not clear but is speculated to be autoimmune.

If you experience hives as part of a serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis), then seek emergency care. Signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis include dizziness, troubled breathing, and swelling of lips, eyelids and tongue.


Urticaria results in wheals that appear when certain cells (mast cells) release histamine and other chemicals into the skin and bloodstream. It is often difficult to identify the reason for hives, turning it into a long-term problem in many individuals. The skin reaction may be triggered by following factors only in a small subset of patients:

  • Infection
  • Scratching
  • Heat or cold
  • Pain killers
  • Insects or parasites bite
  • Stress
  • Exposure to sunlight
  • Excessive exercise
  • Alcohol or food
  • Pressure on the skin, as from a tight waistband

While in majority of the chronic hives patient the trigger cannot be identified.

Blood tests, Allergy tests and ASST can be done as part of Patient evaluation.

Urticaria is an abnormal allergic reaction of the immune system, consult a Dermatologist for its effective control.

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