Urticaria (hives, wheals)
Urticaria is typically a raised, itchy rash that occur in different parts of the body that resolve in 24 hours. Urticaria is caused by mast cells in the skin releasing chemical mediators, including histamines. These mediators cause dilation of blood vessels and leakage of fluid into the surrounding tissue. Angioedema, a deeper swelling, is associated with bradykinin release and present in around 10% of urticaria cases. In most cases of chronic urticaria the cause is unknown. However, there are rare types of chronic urticaria that are triggered by heat, cold, light, pressure, water and stress.
In such cases, Dr. Ophelia will make a clinical diagnosis. She may require photographs of past flare-ups to be used to discuss past history (please bring them to your appointments). Sometimes blood tests or a skin biopsy might be required to confirm the diagnosis and to exclude any other potential co-existing conditions.