Last updated:10-20-2008
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Urticaria is a condition in which red, swollen, itchy areas occurs on the skin. Urticaria is a common disease, 10-15% of Danes are experiencing at some point in their lives that have hives. The symptoms are due to some cells in the skin (called mast cells) unlocks the substance histamine. Histamine causes swelling and redness of the skin and is also the reason for the sudden itching, which always accompanies hives.

A more serious form of hives is calledangioedema, Which is a swelling of the skin and mucous membranes. Angioedema sits usually in the face of the mouth. If the emphasis is sitting in the throat and airways, is a serious condition.

Urticaria can be graded on how long the condition persists. Acute urticaria is sudden and goes quickly. If the condition persists for more than a month, it is called chronic hives.


  • Allergy to food, usually nuts, strawberries, shellfish or additives are the most common cause. The symptoms come here already minutes after ingestion.

  • Medication (eg. Penicillin). Chronic urticaria is due mostly to allergy medicineaspirin.

  • Allergy to insect jack (fleas, mosquitoes, etc.). In children, this is the most common cause of hives that are a little misleading calledfruit buds(formerly believed that food allergies were the cause).

  • Less frequently caused by hives physical effects (sun, heat or cold), brændenælder, firefighters, virus or other diseases.

  • Rarely, the disease may be hereditary.

  • Stress or psychological effects can trigger or exacerbate symptoms.

  • Very often, however, no reason.

Symptoms of hives

  • Itching is usually the first symptom, and itching can be very violent.

  • Then occurs pink, swollen areas on the part of the body. The areas are a little paler in the middle. The areas generally within a few hours (at least within 24 hours) to reoccur elsewhere on the body.

  • If the fields are still there after 24 hours, can be a particular form of hives, which are usually caused by connective tissue.

  • If the symptoms are caused by a specific reason, for example. ingestion of a particular food, they will occur every time you are in contact with this cause.

Precautions and complications

Urticaria is in most cases a harmless disease. The symptoms, and especially itching, can be very annoying. If cause exists, you can avoid symptoms to stay away from the triggering cause, for example. food, medicine or strong sunlight.

If you have symptoms of angioedema, thus swelling around the mouth and throat, you should seek medical attention right away, because swelling can obstruct breathing.

When the doctor will know hives usually do a thorough review of food items, medicinforbrug and like to find a cause, but only rarely will perform an allergy test, a so-called dot-test. A blood test may confirm an allergy.

Treatment of hives

Anti-histamine tablets are effective in 80-90%. In more severe cases, supplemented antihistamine with steroids (adrenal cortical hormones).

In most cases disappearing hives after weeks to months. The chronic cases may last years.



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