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Symptoms, diagnosis and causes of urticaria

Symptoms, diagnosis and causes of urticaria

Symptoms, diagnosis and causes of urticaria

Symptoms, diagnosis and causes of urticaria

Urticaria refers to an area of focal dermal oedema secondary to a transient increase in capillary permeability producing wheals and itching.

Signs & symptoms

Wheals (raised areas surrounded by a red base) from urticaria can appear anywhere on the surface of the skin, often accompanied by itching. < 6 weeks (acute urticaria).If it lasts for < 6 weeks it is called acute urticaria and > 6 weeks (chronic urticaria).If individual wheal lasts for < 24 hrs it is called urticaria and > 24 hrs is called urticarial vasculitis.

Causes and prevention

Allergens (in foods, inhalants and injections), drugs, contact with animal saliva, latex, physical stimuli (e.g. heat, cold, pressure, sun, water),infections (e.g. viral hepatitis, infectious mononucleosis, HIV infection), autoimmune conditions (e.g. systemic lupus erythematosus, pregnancy intestinal parasites) Urticarial Vasculitis may be caused by Hepatitis B or systemic lupus erythematosus.

Complications

On certain body sites such as the lips or hands the oedema spreads and is traditionally referred to as angioedema. The swelling lasts less than 24 hours. Acute urticaria may be associated with angioedema of the lips, face, throat and rarely, wheezing, abdominal pain, headaches and even anaphylaxis.

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