Chronic urticaria

The term urticaria may sound like a scary medical condition but in fact it is just the medical term used for a simple condition otherwise known as hives. Many people are very familiar with hives and have either had them at some point in their lives or known someone who has.

Hives are usually an allergic reaction to something that has come into contact with the skin or something that the body sees as an allergen. When hives form on the skin they can be extremely itchy, bright red and raises up in the form of welts. This is our body’s way of rejecting a substance it is not happy with. When our body decides that it does not agree with a foreign substance it releases a chemical in our body called histamine. This reaction will typically last for only a few hours. In some cases, depending on the amount of exposure and how the body responds, some people can have episodes where they continue to break out into hives for days or even a couple weeks at a time. However, each individual hive itself only lasts a few hours at a time.

Having hives is not a life threatening condition. Although it may look scary and feel terrible they will go away with time. There are a few common reasons people get hives. Medications, bug bites, bee stings, exposure to substances in lotions, soaps and detergents, and foods are all common culprits of causing hives. There are also hives that may arise when a person becomes overheated, drinks too much alcohol, becomes stressed, has a fever or sweats too much.

Many people who experience hives get a mild case that will only last a short time, however there is a group of people who will experience more severe symptoms along with the hives. Anytime an allergic reaction begins there is always the risk that more of the body will respond than just the skin. In some cases a person’s eyes, lips or throat may swell as a response to the allergen. In these cases medical attention is necessary right away. Whenever a person starts to develop an allergic reaction they should monitor their symptoms closely.

Chronic urticaria is a rare incidence in which the hives do not go away. They may come and stay for a long time or they may disappear then reappear all over again. In these cases the hives do not go away in a matter of hours or days, but usually will stick around for months or possibly a year or more. Although this condition is rare it can occur. Chronic urticaria is found in both males and females but seems to occur more so in middle aged women. For the people who suffer from this condition it can become rather embarrassing. Not only can it be physically uncomfortable but it can cause a lot of emotional stress as well. One of the main concerns that come along with having chronic urticaria is that about 30% of these people will also have the more serious condition where the eyes and lips swell. This can become dangerous and needs to be monitored closely.

For anyone who suffers from a breakout of hives the recommended treatment is use of antihistamines. Most of these can be found over the counter and really help eliminate the itching associated with the hives. For those who suffer from the more serious condition of chronic urticaria it may be necessary to take a stronger antihistamine than can be found at the local pharmacy. A prescription may be necessary for not only antihistamines but also for corticosteroids. The best thing you can do is try to determine what is causing your hives and then avoiding the trigger at all cost.

Last updated on Apr 11th, 2010 and filed under Skin Care. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

1 Response for “Chronic urticaria”

  1. Ben says:


    I have had chronic urticaria for nearly 8 years. I have a physical type of hives known as “cholinergic urticaria.” It is a pain and I hope the medical community can figure out the causes of these rare and persistent hives.

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