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Hives (Urticaria)

Homeopathic Treatment of Urticaria or Hives or Nettle Rash

Treatment of urticaria or hives or nettle rash in allopathy

This usually consists of anti-histamines, some of which, such as Piriton, can be bought over the counter. If the allergic reaction is very severe, occasionally steroids may be prescribed.

Cetirizine and Avil are the most commonly abused medicines, with a sedative effect, relief is temporary which helps for only 12-36 hours.

Anti histamine (which blocks the action of histamine) is not an answer to chronic urticaria.

When an antihistamine is ingested it inhibits the action of histamine, in turn relieving rash and itching. However, it is important to understand that histamine is released as a result of the allergic process, which is immunologically mediated. The immunological reaction to an allergen is the cause for the urticarial rash and itching. Histamine release is not the ultimate cause for urticaria. Histamine release is just the result of the allergic process. That means, by nullifying the effects of histamine by using the anti histamine, you are treating the effects of the disease and not the cause of the disease.

Soon, on stopping the anti-histamine, the rash and itching resurfaces in no time, suggesting superficiality of the treatment. Prolonged use of anti histaminics is habit forming.

Homeopathic approach to urticaria or hives or nettle rash

Chronic urticaria calls for another approach. Uriticaria is merely a symptom and not a disease by itself. However, it should be regarded as a significant reflection of the internal system dysfunction.

Urticaria ought to be appreciated as an external signal of internal derangement and accordingly, should be treated with thorough assessment of the entire human system.

Homeopathy has been recognized as a significant medical therapy for urticaria in particular and chronic diseases in general. Homeopathy, a rapidly growing alternative medicine offers excellent treatment for urticaria. The objective of taking treatment is to provide comfort. Homeopathy provides it without any side effects.

The homeopathic approach is a natural way to help the body by supporting the body's own process of healing. It involves the use of extremely diluted natural substances to heal the body by stimulating the natural healing processes.

Homeopathic medicines will also cure allergy like switching off a bulb and desensitize the body to the allergen by improving immunity. Thus it helps the patient to live in their circumstances. The treatment plan thus designed is addressed towards correcting the immune system, in turn treating urticaria from within.

What is Urticaria or Hives or Nettle Rash ?

Urticaria also called nettle rash or hives or wheals in common language simply means itching with rash. It is an allergic skin disorder. It refers to a group of disorders affecting adults and children, in which red patches and wheals occur on the skin.

The release of chemicals such as histamine from mast cells in the skin causes small blood vessels to leak and result in tissue swelling. The wheals can be a few millimeters or several centimeters in diameter, colored white or red, often surrounded by a red flare, and frequently itchy. Each wheal may last a few minutes or several hours, and may change shape. Wheals may be round, or form rings, a map-like pattern or giant patches.

The surface wheals may be accompanied by deeper swellings of eyelids, lips, hands and so on. The swelling is called angioedema. Angioedema may occur with or without urticarial wheals. Angioedema can cause disabling swelling of internal organs, life-threatening blockage of air passages, or severe, uncontrollable intestinal contractions. If the swelling occurs in the throat, it can cause suffocation.

These eruptions can remain on the body for variable periods, anywhere between a few seconds to even hours. They have a tendency to disappear and reappear. They tend to disappear without leaving behind any trace.

What are the Types of Urticaria or Hives or Nettle Rash ?

Different types of urticaria or hives or nettle rash are as follows :

  • Allergic urticaria : When an allergen invades or irritates your body, it unleashes chemicals known as histamines. Some people react to a high histamine level by developing the rash we call hives.
  • Non allergic urticaria
  • Acute urticaria : It may be caused by an allergy and can last between several hours to many weeks. The most likely triggers for acute urticaria are allergies to pets, horses, latex and foods, such as shellfish and nuts in adults and eggs and cow's milk in children.
  • Chronic urticaria : It is not usually caused by an allergy. It refers to hives that persists for 6 weeks or more. There are no visual differences between acute and chronic urticaria. The cause of chronic urticaria is often more difficult to identify. Most cases are called chronic idiopathic urticaria, which means they are caused by the body's unexplained development of antibodies to itself (auto-antibodies or auto-immune).
  • Drug induced urticaria : Certain drugs like anti diabetic sulphonylurea glimepride (trade name Amaryl), aspirin, penicillin, sulfonamides and anticonvulsants and so on.
  • Physical urticaria : It is triggered by physical factors and lasts only an hour or two and is often categorized into the following :
    • Aquagenic : Reaction to water.
    • Cholinergic : Reaction to body heat, such as when exercising or after a hot shower.
    • Cold (Chronic old urticaria) : Reaction to cold, such as ice, cold air or water.
    • Delayed pressure : Reaction to standing for long periods, bra straps, elastic bands on undergarments, belts.
    • Dermatographic : Reaction when skin is scratched.
    • Heat : Reaction to hot food or objects.
    • Solar : Reaction to direct sunlight.
    • Vibration : Reaction to vibration.
    • Adrenergic : Reaction to adrenalin / noradrenalin.
Symptoms of Urticaria or Hives or Nettle Rash

"In chronic cases, the itchiness may cause sleepless nights and leads to depression."

The rash is very itchy and consists of a number of raised bumpy wheals surrounded by red skin. Ordinary urticaria tends to move about or migrate all over the skin surface.

The condition tends to settle and then relapse again at times of viral illness, stress and after taking medication that contains aspirin. This chronic pattern may recur for many years.

Tissue swelling, called Angioderma, may occur with urticaria. This affects the lax tissues around eyelids, lips, neck and groin.

Diagnosis of Urticaria or Hives or Nettle Rash

A careful case analysis and evaluation is required to make a correct diagnosis. There is no need for specific investigations in most of the cases of urticaria. However, these tests may be helpful in some cases :-

  • Complete blood count to identify eosinophilia caused by allergy or parasitic infestation, and low WBC from SLE.
  • Thyroid antibodies and function in chronic urticaria.
  • Comprehensive allergy screening. Blood tests for specific allergy (RAST, or radiollergosorbent tests, or CAP fluoroimmunoassay).
  • Skin biopsy if wheals are prolonged.

Home Treatment for Urticaria or Hives or Nettle Rash

  • The first step in controlling urticaria or hives or nettle rash is to identify the cause, if possible. Once you have indentified the source of the problem, try to avoid exposure to it in the future.
  • To relieve itching, apply calamine lotion or a cold compress to the area.
  • Food additives, colors, preservatives, as well as natural toxins in certain foods, are prime suspects in tracing the cause of mild to moderate cases of hives. Some of the most likely irritants are found in milk products, nuts, fish, eggs, flour, beans, chocolate, strawberries, and tomatoes.

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