URTICARIA SOLICITORS - MEDICAL NEGLIGENCE COMPENSATION CLAIM
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Urticaria or hives is a condition that results in very itchy welts that occur on the surface of the skin in just about any area of the skin. It is due to an allergic reaction to medicine, food or the environment. The cause of hives or urticaria is the release of histamine, which is part of the allergic response. Other allergic chemicals are involved as well. They are released into the bloodstream and go on to the skin, causing the rash. Hives are very common and are more common in those who have hay fever and other types of allergies.
Hives can occur around the face, particularly around the lips and eyes. This becomes "angioedema" and is also due to histamine release. Angioedema can affect the throat, hands and feet and, if it affects the throat, it can cause difficulty breathing.
The substances that trigger urticaria are many and include insect bites, medications, pollen, animal dander (usually cats), shellfish, nuts, fish, milk and eggs, among other foods. Emotional distress can cause urticaria as can exposure to extreme sun or cold, excessive perspiration, autoimmune diseases like lupus, leukaemia, and certain infections, such as infectious mononucleosis. The hives can be more symptomatic than the disease that is causing the hives.
The symptoms of hives include severe itching and swelling of localized areas of the skin into wheals or bumps of red skin with clearly defined borders. Welts can join together and can get bigger and spread to other body areas. Itching of existing hives releases more histamine, which causes more hives to come from the itching. Welts can disappear within minutes and reappear within another body area. It can take up to several hours for hives to go away or it can go away within minutes. The urticaria tends to start suddenly and disappear quickly. The welts blanch or whiten when you press upon them.
Hives or urticaria can be identified by a thorough history and physical exam. Hives have a particular characteristic that makes them easy to figure out, just by looking at them. They blanch when they are touched, which is characteristic. Skin testing and blood testing can confirm that you suffer from an allergic reaction. Skin testing can confirm what it is you are allergic to so you can avoid it in the future.
Doctors don't need to treat urticaria or hives if they are considered mild in nature. They can often reduce and disappear on their own. You should not itch urticarial lesions so you don't release histamine to cause other lesions or to perpetuate the ones you have. You should avoid hot baths and showers, which make histamine more prevalent and worsen itching. You should wear loose fitting clothing so the areas are less hot and irritated. You should take antihistamines to block the histamine release. Two antihistamines that work well are Claritin and Benadryl or diphenhydramine.
If the reaction happens to be severe, and especially if it involves swelling of the throat or face, doctors can give you an injection of epinephrine or adrenaline. Steroids can be used to block the allergic response and lasts several days. This will prevent blockage of the airway from histamine and angioedema.
The prognosis or outlook of hives is excellent. They are uncomfortable but rarely lead to death unless the throat is involved and blocks the airway. This, fortunately, is rare. It is often that you can get hives and never find out what the exact cause of the disease is.
Complications of urticaria or hives include swelling of the throat, which causes blockage of the airway. Anaphylaxis of the body, which is a total body allergic reaction, can come out of hives and can cause disability or death.
You should call 911 if you are experiencing shortness of breath, fainting spells, tightness of the throat, wheezing, or facial swelling. If your tongue swells, you should also consider calling the emergency services. See your doctor if the hives are persistent or if they don't seem to go away with the use of diphenhydramine or Claritin.
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