Urticaria is an annoying form of allergy that is caused by an adverse reaction to an external stimulus. It can sometimes be caused by infections as well. While treatable, urticaria can be challenging to both the patient and the doctor because the cause is not often easy to identify. In many cases, doctors have to perform allergy tests that may often be inconclusive. But once a correct diagnosis is achieved, a successful urticaria treatment is possible.
What causes urticaria?
It is said that almost anything can cause urticaria. And “anything” can include food, pollen, dust, medications, chemicals, certain plants, water, sunlight, insect bites, food preservatives and colorings. Urticaria can also be caused by stress, friction, sweating, pressure and extreme temperatures. Some diseases and conditions can also lead to this type of allergic reaction, including leukemia, hyperthyroidism and cancer.
If the diagnosis is acute urticaria, treatment is usually limited to alleviating the symptoms. The doctor will review the patient’s medical history carefully, along with the list of foods and drinks they may have taken and any activities that may have caused them to be in physical contact with possible allergens. Chronic urticaria usually requires a series of laboratory tests and allergy tests to determine the cause.
The first line of urticaria treatment is to eliminate the causes of allergies. If, after reviewing the patient’s medical history, it is found out that he is allergic to food coloring, then it is only natural for him to avoid foods that use artificial colors. A course of treatments using antihistamines may also be prescribed in order to alleviate symptoms such as inflammation, itching and rashes. For severe cases, oral steroids may be required in order to resolve the stubborn symptoms.
There are also patients who experience secondary symptoms such as wounds or scarring as a result of scratching. Treatments with antibiotic ointments or medications may be required in this case in order to prevent infections and related complications.
During the treatment, it’s important for patients to watch out for any adverse signs that may require further attention from a medical professional. Swelling of the face, lips and eyelids, for example, is a cause for concern. If the patient finds it difficult to breathe properly, it’s critical that he is brought to the doctor immediately for emergency care. If and when these symptoms occur, time is of the essence and the patient should seek medical help as soon as possible.
Treating urticaria is so much more than just knowing what to do when it happens – it’s about being informed about the many ways it could occur. It is, for example, possible to develop an allergy to a product that you have been using for years or medications that you’ve used safely in the past. The key is to be aware of what you eat, drink or use so it will be easier to identify the causes of urticaria and treat it.