Because urticaria is frequently caused by allergies, the primary method for treating this condition is through the administration of antihistamines. Hives, the label commonly used for urticaria, involve an inflammation of the skin, so antihistamines can help to reduce the welt-like splotches and symptoms that characterize the condition.
If a physician or dermatologist can determine the underlying cause or stimulant which potentially activated the condition of urticaria, the physician will advise the patient to avoid the substance. Besides this approach, physicians will designate a treatment protocol which is designed to reduce or potentially eliminate the outbreak of the welts. In many cases, a doctor must catalogue or review a detailed medical history to ascertain potential sources of the urticaria eruption. In addition, the mode of transmission can sometimes be determined through the acquisition of this detailed history. Patients can be exposed to possible causes through direct contact, or via an oral consumption or intravenous connection. For this reason, a physician will frequently conduct a thorough physical examination of an infected patient, in addition to compiling the detailed medical history.
Somewhat infrequently, patients need to be hospitalized if they are not responsive to traditional antihistamine methods of treatment. This would be especially the case if a patient entered anaphylactic shock. In some cases, the outbreak of hives is an antecedent to the emergence of anaphylactic shock or a related response.
In terms of the medications used to treat urticaria, steroids are sometimes used as a first course of action. Prednisone is one such example of a steroid. However, this approach should only be utilized on a short-term basis.
If a patient exhibiting urticaria also exhibits accompanying symptoms like respiratory dysfunction, gastrointestinal issues, joint swelling or pain, and/or difficulty swallowing, a physician or medical health professional should be contacted immediately. In cases like these, a swift and fast medical intervention will likely be necessary, depending on the severity of the case.
One of the most challenging dimensions of establishing a clear-cut diagnosis for urticaria is to distinguish the characteristics of its symptoms and rashes from those of dermatological conditions which are correspondent in appearance.
Ultimately, the most effective type of treatment is for an infected person to avoid the source of the urticaria outbreak in the first place. In the case of an outbreak, though, antihistamines which contain a small or no amount of sedatives are best used unless the itchiness caused by the hives is so extreme that a sedative could be beneficial for the patient’s comfort level and general overall well-being. This type of approach can help patients and infected persons take a single dosage daily, with little to no adverse accompanying conditions.
Some doctors elect to combine a blend of 2-3 varied types of antihistamines as an initial treatment protocol. In the case of swelling around the face, especially the lips or tongue, a physician could likely ensure that the patient has an “epy pen,” or a dosage of epinephrine which can be injected intravenously. This type of approach could help ease a patient’s inability to breathe, and is a common protocol for use with allergens. Persons with chronic hives sometimes are prescribed a daily dosage of antihistamines instead of simply taking one as needed, or in response to an unexpected eruption of urticaria.
In addition to various food sources and possible medication sources, hives can be instigated by nettles, chemicals, or latex. Some people have experienced eruptions of urticaria when their skin is exposed to water, when they enter sunlight, or as a result of an insect bite, or temperature changes, especially extreme ones.
In some cases, the underlying cause of the outbreak is not identified. Estimates project that only between 20% and 50% of urticaria cases result in a confirmed diagnosis of the potential underlying source.
The treatment of chronic urticaria differs from that of acute urticaria, as it is sometimes associated with another accompanying condition – frequently, an autoimmune disorder. Indeed, urticaria has been associated with the immune system, so this linkage makes logical sense.
If an antihistamine does not prove to be effective enough, a physician can utilize corticosteroids; this type of method causes the immune system to become suppressed. This method can allow the symptoms to subside; however, it should only be used for a period of up to 5 days. Further utilization of this approach could compromise the immune system to the extent that a person’s potential to contract an infection become greatly increased.
A physician or dermatologist should always be consulted to establish a confirmed diagnosis and to design an appropriate treatment protocol.