What is urticaria?

Urticaria, also called hives, is an outbreak of swollen, red bumps that appear on the skin that appear as a result of immune system’s response to certain allergens. Hives can change their size and shape, and form anywhere on your skin. They can be mild or severe and last from minutes to days. Urticaria that lasts longer than 6 weeks may be a chronic condition that needs long-term treatment.

What causes urticaria?

Urticaria can be caused by:

  • Food allergies such as to nuts, eggs, or milk
  • Food dyes, additives, or preservatives
  • Medicine allergies such as to aspirin and ibuprofen
  • Sunlight exposure
  • Pets
  • Plants
  • Insect stings
  • Stress

How is urticaria diagnosed?

Your primary care physician will ask you about your symptoms, family medical history, foods you eat and medicines you take. Tell your primary care physician if you are stressed, suffered a trauma and have been exposed to any allergen. The doctor will conduct a skin test to decide what substance you are allergic to. Routine blood tests will also be conducted to check if a disease is present in your body.

How is urticaria treated?

Mild urticaria can go away without medications. But chronic urticaria needs to be treated with medicines like:

  • Antihistamines to decrease itching and rashes
  • Steroids to decrease redness, pain, and swelling
  • Epinephrine to treat severe allergic reactions

Management of urticaria

Here are some tips to manage your urticaria:

  • Do not rub your hives
  • Apply cold compresses to the affected areas
  • Wear loose fitting clothes
  • Manage your stress

Treatment at Manhattan Medical Arts

If hives occur along with dizziness, wheezing, breathing difficulties, and swelling of the tongue, lips or face, contact a doctor immediately.

Primary care physicians at Manhattan Medical Arts, located in Chelsea, NYC evaluate and treat patients with all kinds of allergies including rhinitis, sinusitis, dermatitis and environmental allergies. If you or your loved ones is suffering from urticaria, contact us at 1-646-454-9000.

We believe in providing accessible, cost-effective and efficient care that meets the expectation of our clients and strive to maintain the highest standards of safe and quality health care in all our facilities, for all our patients.


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