Tamara Wald has written and medically validated many texts as Medical Advisor for Fernarzt.
1. Types- Physical hives – Spontaneous hives – Cholinergic hives
2. Causes of hives 3. Symptoms – How hives manifest themselves? 4. Diagnosis of hives 5. Treatment – How to put an end to itching – Avoiding triggers! – Medications for hives
Hives manifest as itchy wheals on the skin, which may be skin-colored or pale red in color.
Approximately 20 percent of the population develops symptoms of urticaria at some point in their lives. The condition can be acute or chronic.
Hives at a glance:
– Hives are a reaction of the skin with redness, wheals and itching – There are different types and causes/triggers for hives – These different types also determine the length and therapy of the respective symptoms
What does hives look like?
Hives appear in the form of more or less sudden hives on the body, usually on the legs or arms. These burn and itch and, depending on the type, may disappear after a short time or last for a long time. Learn more
How long does hives last?
How long the wheals are swollen depends on the type and course of urticaria. In acute hives, wheals are no longer visible after a few hours or two weeks at the most; in chronic hives, symptoms last longer than six weeks.
Is hives contagious?
Hives are not contagious because they are not caused by pathogens. However, infections with bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens can cause some people to experience hives and the itching that accompanies the infection.
How to treat hives?
Generally, the therapy of hives is directed against the symptomatology. Creams and lotions lead to the relief of symptoms. If this is not enough, medication in tablet form can also be used. Read more about the treatment options here.
This large group of hives includes physical irritants that cause symptoms of hives, such as itching and wheals. These irritations can be caused by cold, light or mechanical effects. The symptoms of physical hives disappear when the stimulus is no longer present. They account for only about ten percent of all cases of hives.
Depending on the stimulus, a distinction is made between different types of hives:
Friction hives (Urticaria factitia): The disease is triggered by scratching, rubbing and chafing the skin. This can be triggered, for example, by a rubbing backpack. About two to four percent of Germans suffer from this type of hives, making it the most common form of physical hives.
Prere hives (delayed prere urticaria): Persistent prere triggers In this type, hives are triggered by persistent prere. However, the reaction takes place with a time lag, because the wheals do not form until three to twelve hours later. Those affected therefore often do not recognize the direct connection with the prere effect.
Cold hives (cold contact urticaria): Contact with cold objects, cold air, cold wind or cold liquids can cause cold contact urticaria. For example, the itchy rashes or redness may form on uncovered areas of the body in winter. Symptoms appear either a few minutes after the cold stimulus or when the area warms up again. More about cold allergy
Heat contact urticaria: The trigger here is localized contact with heat, for example during a hair dryer. In this type of urticaria, the typical symptoms appear only in the areas that have come into direct contact with the heat source.
Light urticaria: Both UV light (e.g. in a solarium) and visible light can be the cause of wheal formation.
In spontaneous urticaria, wheals and/or angioedema form, but a sufferer and also treating physicians may
The origin of this reaction is not clear.
Accordingly, this type of urticaria appears to occur without a trigger. Some patients report that the symptoms "seem to come out of nowhere". Depending on how long the symptoms last, a distinction is made between spontaneous acute and spontaneous chronic hives. Spontaneous urticaria is the most common, with about 80 percent of all patients suffering from it, two-thirds of whom have the acute variety.
Acute hives usually subsides after two weeks at the latest, but often hives are no longer visible after a few hours. Chronic hives, on the other hand, are said to occur when symptoms last longer than six weeks.
The cholinergic hives will due to a rise in body temperature triggered and occurs especially in young adults at.
The trigger of cholinergic hives is an increase in body temperature. This can, for example by sports, spicy food, alcohol, fever, hot water or emotional stress are caused by. The first hives may appear while the temperature is still rising. Mostly they quickly disappear again, only in rare cases do they persist for more than three hours.
Cholinergic hives Occurs most frequently among the special forms. However, cholinergic hives are rarely treated because the symptoms that appear are usually mild. On average, this form of hives lasts between two and ten years before it finally disappears.
Any form of hives is unpleasant – we want to scratch all the time, we can't think about anything else and we are in pain. If you know it, you should talk to a doctor, especially if it occurs more frequently. Via remote doctor you can use live consultation by phone or video to get advice, prescription and diagnosis from our doctors.
Causes of hives
Although the triggers differ from patient to patient, the cause of the symptoms of hives is always the Release of histamine by the mast cells of the immune system underlying.
In the case of hives, the messenger substance histamine is released in increased quantities and causes the small blood vessels in the skin to dilate so that the skin becomes red.
At the same time the vessels become more permeable. As a result, more fluid enters the tie and wheals form. Hives are red, itchy, slightly raised swellings, have clearly defined boundaries and may be pale in the center.
Symptoms – How does urticaria manifest itself?
Despite the different triggers, urticaria causes symptoms with a typical appearance in those affected:
– reddened skin – very itchy skin blisters (wheals) – sometimes extensive skin/mucous membrane swelling (angioedema)
Sometimes the wheals are confined to a limited area, in other cases they cover practically the whole body. They are accompanied by severe itching. The itching can be experienced by the affected person as so severe that they can only feel difficult to concentrate on other things and consequently sleep poorly. A particularly characteristic feature of urticaria is the feeling that the irritation cannot be relieved by scratching, but that the itching can be counteracted by pinching or applying prere with the fingernails.
Some patients with hives develop sudden, pronounced swellings of the skin/mucous membranes, for example on the face. Tightness. be accompanied by itching. They disappear more slowly than wheals (within 72 hours). Often in hives there is also swelling. Water retention in the angioedema (subcutaneous tie). In rare cases, the swelling may also affect mucous membranes in the mouth, throat, and larynx. This can lead to life-threatening breathing problems.
Diagnosis of hives
Diagnosis of urticaria is often a long process, because possible triggers are not easy to identify. It is best for the affected person to contact a doctor if symptoms occur Family doctor turn. The physician then conducts a thorough patient interview in which the patient's medical history (anamnesis) is taken.
The forms and causes of urticaria can be highly variable. Therefore, the observations of the affected person are essential for the diagnosis of urticaria. A successful therapy essential.
One way is for patients to keep a complaint diary. In the diagnosis of urticaria, this can provide decisive information about possible intolerances and risk substances, such as drugs or food additives.
The following information should be documented in the urticaria diary:
– Symptoms including severity and course – Ingested food and beverages – Products applied to the skin – Medications with dosage – Experiences with increased psychological stress – Physical exertion, e.g. B. Sports
Treatment – How to put an end to itching
The goal of therapy is to achieve complete freedom from symptoms. This is successful in the majority of patients. Only chronic inducible urticaria often has a severe and protracted course and responds worse to therapy.
The most important component of hives therapy is to avoid the trigger as much as possible. Of course, this is only possible if this could be clearly identified.
Against: Certain forms of physical urticaria can be treated with habituation therapy. Here, the body is accustomed to the trigger by specifically confronting the body with it.
Medication for hives
In general, the treatment of hives is directed against the symptoms of hives. Creams and lotions can be applied topically and lead to relief of symptoms. If this is not enough, medications can also be used in Tablet form are used. treatment can be used. You can avoid the allergic. Effectively relieve allergy-like symptoms in many patients. They can effectively relieve allergic and allergy-like symptoms in many patients. Antihistamines inhibit the effect of histamine.
In the case of chronic hives, other substances besides antihistamines are often used to combat the disease. In severe cases, urticaria often needs to be treated with cortisone. This can be the case, for example, if antihistamines do not sufficiently help against the symptoms of hives.
Leukotriene antagonists can also be used for hives that are difficult to treat, as these drugs have an anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic effect.
Since urticaria can cause swelling in the throat, it can lead to life-threatening breathing problems. Affected persons should therefore always carry an emergency allergy kit with them. It should include a liquid antihistamine, a liquid cortisone preparation, and a shot of epinephrine.