Urticaria(hives) Causes, Treatment, Sign and Symptoms

Learn all about Urticaria (hives) Causes, Treatment, Sign and Symptoms!

Urticaria also referred as hives, is defined as local reddening of the skin which itches intensely and presently due to some allergic reaction.In some cases urticaria is associated with non allergic mechanism triggered by some physical and emotional factors.Severity of urticaria depends upon the cause of disease but in many cases the condition may be temporary and goes away within minutes or a few hours.Only in few cases it becomes chronic and lasts for long period of time.Majority of chronic hives or urticaria have unknown cause(idiopathic urticaria) and lasts longer than six weeks.It is believed 30-40% of chronic urticaria cases are associated with immune system due to which they cannot be cure completely but they can be managed with certain medications.

Urticaria(hives) Causes, Treatment, Sign and Symptoms

Symptoms of Urticaria

Here are some commonly reported sign and symptoms of  Urticaria.

  • Appearance of small round wheals
  • Itching
  • Burning sensation
  • Scaly skin around affected area
  • Formation of red patches
  • Normally, disappear within 30 minutes

Causes of Urticaria

In most cases the underlying cause of urticaria or hives is hypersensitivity to various drugs, foods, insect stings and some other substances like pollens that are inhaled accidently.Other causes of urticaria are include any autoimmune disease, emotional crisis or it may be due to some idiopathic factors.In more than 20 percent of the cases of urticaria or hives the skin reaction is triggered by some emotional crisis or due to some internal cause rather than by all obvious allergy producing contact.It is observed that in few cases of urticaria or hives develops due to exposure to cold, heat, any toxic material, sun light or pressure.

Some common drugs that are involved in the skin hypersensitivity reaction are aspirin, penicillins, cephalosporins and tetracyclines. Inhaled protein substances that may Cause the reaction of urticaria include pollens, molds, the dust from feathers,house dust and animal dander.

The Insect stings that may cause hives or urticaria are those of of hornets, wasps, and bees.The underlying cause of hypersensitivity due to insect sting is that person is sensitive sensitive to the Substance which the insect Injects into his skin. It was strongly believed that  number of urticaria cases are due to food allergy or any of the ingredient present in it but now it is revealed that food allergy is the  cause of few cases of urticaria but not so many.

Treatment of Urticaria

Treatment of urticaria depends upon the condition and underlying cause of disease.60-70% of urticaria cases are efficiently treated with anti-histamines and corticosteroids. But some cases of urticaria or hives are idiopathic (unknown origin) and lasts for longer period of time.Such cases of urticaria are difficult to treat but can be managed.Here some  drug that are commonly used in the treatment of urticaria or hives.


They widely used in skin allergies like urticaria, skin rashes and in insect bite.They block the production of inflammatory mediator called as histamine by inhibiting H2 receptors that’s why they are also termed as H2 receptor antagonists.Some commonly used ant-histamines are given below

  • Loratadine (Claritin)
  • Fexofenadine (Allegra)
  • Cetirizine (Zyrtec)
  • Levocetirizine (Xyzal)
  • Desloratadine (Clarinex)


Corticosteroids are used to reduce swelling and inflammation caused by skin reaction.Corticosteroids reduce the severity of disease by suppressing the immune system  which may be a cause of idiopathic urticaria or hives.Corticosteroids are usually used in severe conditions because long term usage of corticosteroids weaken the immune system which making it  easier for you to get an infection or worsening an existing infection you already have.Examples of corticosteroids are dexamethasone, prednisolone and hydrocortisone.


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