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What is urticaria?

Urticaria is a skin reaction that manifests as a rash characterized by itching, redness and swelling. Hives can be caused by various factors, such as allergic reactions to food, drugs or other substances, physical contact, sunlight, cold, heat or stress.

Treatment for urticaria involves reducing symptoms and eliminating triggers that may cause a reaction. Your doctor may prescribe medication to reduce itching and redness. It is important to consult an allergist or other health professional if hives are recurring or do not go away within a few days to determine the cause and appropriate treatment.


Hives can have many different causes. Some forms of hives have a clear cause, while others do not. Here are some of the most common causes of hives:

  1. Allergic reactions. Hives can be caused by allergies to foods (eg, eggs, nuts, fish, grapes), drugs (eg, penicillin or other types of antibiotics), plant pollen or insect bites, etc.
  2. Physical factors. In some people, hives can be triggered by physical stimuli such as friction, cold, heat or sunlight.
  3. Infections. Viral or bacterial infections, such as angina, can cause hives.
  4. Stress. Emotional stress can trigger an outbreak of hives in some people.
  5. Autoimmune reactions. In some cases, urticaria is caused by the immune system attacking its own tissues.
  6. Other reasons. In rare cases, hives can be caused by hormonal changes, circulatory disorders or tumors.

It is important to emphasize that sometimes the cause of urticaria may remain unknown. In this case, it is called idiopathic urticaria .


Urticaria manifests itself with the following symptoms:

Skin rash

Urticaria causes a rash that usually appears as red, raised, itchy patches. The rash can appear on any part of the body.


Hives often cause intense itching, which can be very uncomfortable and interfere with daily activities and sleep.


Sometimes urticaria can cause angioedema, where the skin on the face, lips, tongue, hands or feet suddenly swells. Angioedema can be dangerous if the throat or airways swell, as it can cause breathing difficulties.

Symptoms of hives can last from a few hours to a few days, and in some people the condition can become recurrent. If you have symptoms of hives, especially if it affects your breathing or the itching is very intense, see a health professional for an examination and appropriate treatment.


Most often, the aim is to reduce the symptoms of urticaria. Treatment may vary depending on individual needs and the severity of the hives.

  1. Antihistamines. These are the most commonly used drugs to treat hives. They help reduce itching, redness and swelling. These drugs may be available over the counter or by prescription, depending on their strength.
  2. Corticosteroids. In severe cases or with angioedema, your doctor may prescribe prednisolone to reduce inflammation and symptoms. Long-term use of prednisolone is not recommended due to possible side effects.
  3. Montelukast. This drug is usually used for the treatment of bronchial asthma and seasonal allergic rhinitis, sometimes it can be used to treat urticaria, especially if antihistamines are ineffective.
  4. Immunotherapy. In some cases, when hives are caused by a specific allergen, allergen immunotherapy may be used to reduce the body's sensitivity to the allergen.
  5. Elimination of causes. If it is known what causes hives, it is important to try to avoid or minimize interactions with that factor. For example, avoiding allergenic foods, medicines or other allergens.
  6. Symptomatic treatment. Although not a direct treatment for hives, cooling lotions, creams, or gels can help reduce itching and discomfort.

Who can get hives?

Urticaria can occur in any person regardless of age, gender, etc. However, there are certain factors that can increase the risk of hives:

Family history

If there are people in your family who have had hives in the past, there is an increased chance that you may also get it.


People with other types of allergies, such as food allergies, seasonal rhinitis, or bronchial asthma, may have a higher risk of hives.

Autoimmune diseases

Some people with autoimmune diseases such as Reiter's syndrome, Sjogren's syndrome, systemic lupus erythematosus, or thyroid disorders may be at increased risk of hives.

Previous urticaria

If you've already had an outbreak of hives, you are more likely to get hives again in the future.


Urticaria can occur at any age, but younger people (especially children) are at a slightly higher risk of developing hives.

It is important to emphasize that urticaria can occur even in those who do not have these risk factors.

Nettle for children

Hives in children can appear in the same way as in adults. However, hives in children is more likely to be caused by a viral infection than by an allergy or other cause.


Hives prevention involves several steps aimed at reducing the risk of developing hives or reducing the severity of its symptoms if you already have the condition.

Avoidance of allergens

If you know you are allergic to certain foods, drugs, substances, insects, or other substances, try to avoid them to reduce the chance of hives outbreaks.

Physical causes

If physical factors such as cold, heat, sunlight cause hives, try to reduce or avoid these factors. For example, wear warm clothes in cold weather, use sunscreen.

Infection control

Wash your hands regularly and practice good hygiene to reduce the risk of infection that can cause hives.

Stress management

Learn how to manage stress using various stress reduction techniques. This will help reduce the chance of hives outbreaks if stress is a factor.

Healthy lifestyle

Follow healthy lifestyle habits. A healthy lifestyle can help reduce the chance of hives and improve your overall well-being.

Consultation with a doctor

If you have hives or other allergy symptoms, consult an allergist or immunologist for an individualized plan to prevent hives and reduce symptoms.

Prepared from online sources.

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