Urticaria are skin welts that itch. They appear on smoothly elevated areas of the skin and come in various shapes and sizes. Urticaria has the tendency to change sizes and move around rapidly and disappear from one part of the body and reappear on another. They typically last no longer than 24 hours. Urticaria can be caused by exposure to certain foods, medication, and substances. According to MedicineNet.com, about 20% of all people will develop urticaria at one point in their life. Urticaria appears more frequently on women than men.
A further stage of hives is Angioedema. Angrioedema is something that accompanies hives, and causes deeper swelling in the skin. It causes swelling of the lips, eyelids, hands, etc. This can actually be life threatening when the tongue is swelled due to the fact that it can block airways.
|Figure 1. Image of Urticaria|
At times, the causes of Urticaria are not known. Doctors may run several blood tests and still not pin point exactly the cause of this epidemic. Some people are prescribed antihistamines , but turns out it does not always work. Although a particular welt may last no longer than 24 hours, people can live with Urticaria for up to two years or more.
A new study showed that the asthma drug Xolair maybe a safe and effective treatment for people with long term Urticaria.. Thomas Casale took on this study and said "In the high-dose group, for example, patients had a clear drop in their symptoms in a week. And that was apparent at two weeks for the [second-highest dose]. So it not only worked, but it worked fairly rapidly," By the end of treatment, 53% of patients receiving the high dose were hives free.Although they don't always know the cause for Urticaria, scientists are working towards cures so patients don't have to wait for it to clear up.
Posted by Barbara Afogho (Group A)