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Urticaria (Hives)

Find out how hives can occur and the factors involved with triggering an episode.


This page provides all the information and support you need. We share information on urticaria (hives): causes, symptoms, and treatments. There is also a Q&A service which gives you the opportunity to ask any further questions.

What is Urticaria?

Urticaria, also known as Hives, is a specific skin condition which is more common than previously thought. Clinically, the reaction comes under a number of different names and the most common manifestation of this is ‘Prickly Heat’, seen during the summer months. 

Sometimes, the reactions can also affect other parts of the body and swelling around the eyes and in the throat can be experienced in more severe cases. In the latter case the condition can be life threatening as the patient has difficulty in breathing.


What goes wrong?

Many have experienced nettle stings and physiologically, it is the histamine present in Stinging Nettle which gives rise to the discomfort felt. It is no coincidence that Urticarial reactions are known as ‘Nettle Rash’. This allergic reaction results in the release of histamines under the skin and a similar picture to Nettle stings is seen.

Urticaria is basically caused by an inappropriate release of histamine by the Mast cells found in the skin. These cells can be activated by a whole host of different triggers.

Excessive heat (when one is not used to it) during the summer is indeed a common cause.

Other causes would include pollen, house dust, animal fur and feathers and in some rare cases even water can be the trigger factor.

The characteristic signs seen on the skin is a raised red weal which is intensely itchy.

How can Urticaria be managed?

  • Avoid hot water; use lukewarm water instead.
  • Use gentle, mild soap.
  • Apply cool compresses or wet cloths to the affected areas.
  • Try to work and sleep in a cool room.
  • Wear loose-fitting lightweight clothes.

It is a basic tenet of Homoeopathy that ‘Like cures Like’. The same principle can be used for Urticaria. Stinging nettle is the specific remedy for this condition. It helps reduce histamine levels and has an anti-inflammatory effect.

What do you think?

Have you found what you read useful? If so, I would love if you would leave your comment below. Thanks Sonia Chartier

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