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Urticaria

Urticaria, commonly referred to as hives, appears as raised, well-circumscribed areas of erythema and edema involving the dermis and epidermis that are very pruritic. It may be acute (< 6 weeks) or chronic (>6 weeks). Urticaria may be confused with a variety of other dermatologic diseases that are similar in appearance and are also pruritic; usually, however, it can be distinguished from these diseases by an experienced clinician.

Chronic hives usually aren’t life-threatening. But the condition can be very uncomfortable and interfere with sleep and daily activities.

Classification of urticaria

Urticaria is classified according to its duration.

  • Acute urticaria¬†(< 6 weeks duration, and often gone within hours to days)
  • Chronic urticaria¬†(> 6 weeks duration, with daily or episodic weals)

Chronic urticaria may be spontaneous or inducible. Both types may co-exist.

Inducible or physical urticaria includes:

  • Symptomatic dermographism
  • Cold urticaria
  • Cholinergic urticaria
  • Contact urticaria
  • Delayed pressure urticaria
  • Solar urticaria
  • Heat urticaria
  • Vibratory urticaria
  • Aquagenic urticarial