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Urticaria or Hives, Chronic

Hives. Courtesy wikimedia.

Hives. Courtesy wikimedia.

What Is Chronic Urticaria?

Urticaria is an immune based skin disorder characterized by multiple eruptions of well-demarcated edematous, intensely pruritic (itchy) plaques that may be small or reach the diameter of many centimeters with surrounding erythema (redness) each lasting less than 24 hours.1

Q: What is the immune reaction in hives?

A: Hives form when, in response to histamine, blood plasma leaks out of small blood vessels in the skin. Histamine is a chemical released from specialized cells along the skin’s blood vessels. Allergic reactions, chemicals in certain foods, insect stings, sunlight exposure, or medications can all cause histamine release.2

In many patients, in spite of extensive investigations, the cause remains elusive. The term idiopathic is often used to denote this category. Now it is known that autoimmunity is the cause of chronic urticaria in 50% of cases.

Treatment is generally started with nonsedating antihistamine in the daytime and sedating antihistamine in the night.3

What Is Chronic Urti caria In Celiac Disease and/or Gluten Sensitivity?


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  1. Scala E, Giani M, Pirrotta L, Guerra EC, DePita O, Puddu P. Urticaria and adult celiac disease. Allergy. 1999;54:1008-9. 

  2. www.webmd.com 

  3. Godse KV. Chronic urticaria and treatment options. Indian J Dermatol. 2009 Oct-Dec; 54(4): 310–312. 

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