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Urticaria (Hives)

image Urticaria (Hives)

Urticaria, also known as hives, welts or nettle rash are often caused by an allergic reaction which manifests itself as a skin rash consisting of raised red patches and bumps which are itchy. These welts can appear anywhere on the body, but most often on the arms, legs and trunk (back, stomach or chest). They vary in size from small pin point sized to large patches several centimetres in diameter. The rash is an inflammatory reaction by the body whereby histamine (a protein) is released by the skin cells making blood vessels dilate (open) allowing capillaries to leak an excessive amount of fluid. The fluid gathers on the skin causing the rash. Acute Urticaria is classed as reactions lasting from just a few hours up to six weeks. Chronic Urticaria lasts for longer than this.
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Urticaria Creams

Taking an antihistamine should counteract the histamine released in an allergic reaction. Antihistamines are available in many forms depending on where your symptoms occur. For the skin, you could use the following creams:
  • Anthisan Bite and Sting Cream 20g

    Anthisan Bite and Sting Cream 20g

    Anthisan cream contains: Mepyramine maleate 2% w/w - Relieves the itching and inflammation caused by bites, stings and nettle rash.

    (incl VAT)
  • Eurax Cream 100g

    Eurax Cream 100g

    Eurax is NOT an antihistamine and therefore is suitable for use along side an oral antihistamine (such as Piriton or Clarytin). Eurax relieves itching and skin irritation caused by sunburn, dry eczema, itchy dermatitis, allergic rashes, hives, nettle rash, chickenpox, insect bites and stings, heat rashes, personal itching and during the treatment of scabies.

    (incl VAT)

Allergy Relief Tablets

Urticaria Triggers

Acute Urticaria will usually occur quite suddenly and display the symptoms mentioned above. The patches usually begin appearing within an hour of exposure to the allergen or trigger. The rash can disappear within hours or days, sometimes reappearing on different parts of the body. It is useful to know that it is one of the most common allergic skin conditions and identifying a possible trigger may help you to avoid future attacks. In a large percentage of cases the trigger cannot be identified and is known as Idiopathic Urticaria.

Common Triggers of Urticaria: (inhaled, ingested or injected)
  • Food or plants: Seafood, strawberries, stinging nettle, mould, pollen.
  • Animals/insects: insect bites, contact with creatures (stinging jellyfish), animal dander.
  • Medicines: penicillin, aspirin, clotrimazole.
  • Chemicals/substances: perfumes, preservatives, colourings, nickel, latex.
  • Physical influences: sunlight (solar urticaria), sustained pressure on the skin such as belts or bra straps.
  • Infections: virus or bacteria.
  • Idiopathic: cause unknown.

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