Urticaria or chronic hives is an uncomfortable skin condition that causes intense itching and discomfort. According to Dr. Miriam Anand, an allergist with Allergy Associates and Asthma, Arizona, the cause of urticaria is unidentifiable in 85 percent of the cases. Chronic hives or urticaria lasts for longer than six weeks and needs intense therapy by experts like Dermatologist in Model Town Lahore and can be somewhat difficult to treat.
Here are some tips to deal with urticaria in the summers:
Avoid the known triggers
Many people already know what triggers their urticaria, while others can seek the help of allergists to find their triggers. Allergists are professionals who do allergy testing to find what the body is reacting to.
According to a 2015 report of the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, the first step to control hives or urticaria is to avoid the triggers or allergens that the body reacts to. Some common allergens are: nuts especially peanuts, eggs, fish, food additives, viruses, bacteria, pollen, pet dander, medication like aspirin, sun exposure, and physical stimuli like temperature, exercise and pressure.
Follow the medication and treatment plan
Over-the-counter medication like antihistamines, home remedies and prescription medication help to treat urticaria. Topical application of calamine lotion, aloe Vera and oatmeal soothe the skin, and attenuate the inflammatory response. In case of chronic urticaria, preventive therapy is a better option than starting treatment after the symptoms appear. Prescription medication like anti-inflammatory drugs, histamine blocker, or immune suppressants may be recommended by the healthcare provider as well.
Use cold compresses
The inflammatory response that worsens the urticaria is reduced with cold temperature. Therefore, applying cold compresses on the skin offers relief once the symptoms begin. The earlier the compresses are applied, the better the response is.
Some cases of urticaria are due to cold exposure, in which case cold compresses are not recommended.
Vitamin D supplements
Research shows a possible link between low vitamin D levels and increased instances of urticaria. In 2018, a systematic review showed that people who experienced chronic urticaria had significantly lower levels of vitamin D. In cases of recurrent urticaria, hence, vitamin D supplementation can prove helpful. Be sure, however, to test the pre-supplementation serum vitamin D levels to avoid toxicity.
Hives can worsen with stress and anxiety. Stress management, and relaxation techniques like mindful meditation, deep breathing and yoga can help to reduce the instances of urticaria and acute flare-ups. At the same time, patients who experience hives and urticaria can have negative emotions like anxiety and depression. Therefore, it’s important to pay attention to the emotional wellbeing as well.
Dry skin can feel itchier when there is urticaria. However, scratching the hives on dry skin can cause serious aggravation of the hives. Using a moisturizer and taking frequent baths can minimize itching and the discomfort it induces, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI).
Wear loose, light clothing
Urticaria, in the summers, is often a consequence of constricted and tight clothing secondary to friction and constant chafing. According to the ACCAI, loose fitting clothing prevents irritation and overheating. In the summer, loose but fully-covered clothing protects the skin from the sun and also from hives. For more tailored therapy professionals like Dermatologist in DHA Karachi can help.