Urticaria is one of the commonest manifestations of allergy a majority of the people having it at one time or another.In most of these cases it is a transient phenomenon occurring only once or twice.In some it comes up only in a particular season in others it persists for weeks, months and years making life miserable.
Urticaria may be localized at some part of the body or spread all over the body.It may occur as only a few spots or it may be confluent.Raised reddish areas of different shapes and sizes appear which cause itching and last from a few minutes to a few hours without leaving behind any trace.Fresh urticarial patches may continue appearing while the older ones disappear.
Urticaria may also be accompanied by swelling of certain parts of the body such as lips, tongue, hands and feet the condition is called angio-oedema.The swelling and redness of the skin in cases of urticaria is due to the release of histamine in the tissues.
Some of the Causes of Urticaria are:
1. Physical agents such as cold, heat, sunlight and mechanical pressure.
2. Emotional causes such as laughter, anxiety and panic.
3. Food articles such as nuts, seeds, fish, chicken, eggs, citrus fruits.
4. Drugs out of which aspirin is the common offender others are antibiotics, laxatives etc.
5. Sometimes insect bites and stings apart from causing local reactions of swelling.
6. Unknown causes which form the majority of the cases.
If an examination of the stool shows presence of a parasite the proper treatment may in some cases be helpful.Foci of infection in the teeth, tonsils, and other places should be treated appropriately.
Commonly known allergic articles of diet such as eggs, fish, milk, chocolate, dried fruits, etc should be eliminated and the results noted.If there is an improvement in the symptoms then all the eliminated foods should be re administered one by one and the effect of each noted.There should be an interval of at least one week before a new food is added to the diet.Patients should be warned against taking any pain relieving tablets, laxatives, sedatives, etc.
As for symptomatic relief various antihistamine tablets are available.The particular brand which will suit an individual can only be found by trial and error.
As General Measures:
1. Avoid excessive physical and mental stress.
2. Reduce or avoid physical irritation of the skin.
3. Avoid self medication and consult your doctor.
4. Avoid histamine releasing foods such as bananas, strawberries.