How do I know if I have Urticaria?

If you suspect you have Urticaria based on the common symptoms, it’s important to consult a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment as there are different types of Urticaria. They can help determine the underlying cause of your symptoms and provide guidance on managing and treating Urticaria effectively.

Urticaria is a skin condition characterized by raised itchy welts, wheals, hives or bumps on the skin with or without swelling (angioedema). Here are some common signs and symptoms of Urticaria:

Raised red or white hives on the skin: These wheals can vary in size and shape and may appear suddenly and vary in size. The skin color of the hives may match the surrounding skin color or appear red or lighter or darker.

Itching: Urticaria is typically accompanied by itching, which can range from mild to severe. The itching sensation may be localized to the affected area or spread throughout the body.

Swelling: In addition to hives, swelling can occur, usually in the deeper layers of the skin. This swelling may affect the face, lips, tongue, throat, or other parts of the body.

Burning or stinging sensation: Some people with Urticaria may experience a burning or stinging sensation along with itching.

Transient nature: Urticaria often comes and goes within a few hours, with individual hives typically lasting for less than 24 hours. However, new wheals may continue to appear as old ones fade and flare ups can be present for longer periods and diagnosed as chronic in nature.

Urticaria is more than a skin issue; it comes with various comorbidities. Recognizing and addressing these additional health challenges is crucial for a holistic approach to understanding and managing the challenges individuals with this condition face. Read more about different types of urticaria here.

In what ways can I improve the quality of life?

Living with Urticaria can be challenging, but there are steps you can take to improve the quality of life and manage your symptoms effectively.

Use tools to track symptoms: There are a number of tools for your computer or mobile phone that will help you record symptoms as well as manage your health, mood and nutrition. Use this to discuss with your carers and medical team.

Identify patterns: Try to identify and track potential factors associated with each flare and take steps to avoid or minimize exposure to them. That may include certain foods, medications, allergens, stress, temperature changes, and pressure on the skin. However, note that it can also be spontaneous with no known trigger.

Manage stress: Stress can exacerbate Urticaria symptoms in some individuals. Practice stress-reduction techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, yoga, or progressive muscle relaxation to help manage stress levels and potentially reduce the frequency or severity of outbreaks.

Prioritize sleep: Remember to prioritize your sleep. Choosing the right bedding materials, like breathable, natural fabrics, and avoiding memory foam pillows, which can make you feel hot and sweaty, can make a big difference in how well you sleep. It’s all about finding what works best for you.

Use this Shared Decision-Making Tool by Global Allergy & Airways Patient Platform that can help your Healthcare Provider learn more about where you are at with your CU, and work with you to come up with or alter your management plan so that it meets your specific needs and goals.

What external support is available to people living with Urticaria?

By seeking support from healthcare professionals, connecting with others who understand your experience, accessing reliable information, and exploring various treatment options, you can effectively manage Urticaria and improve your quality of life.

There are several sources of external support available to help diagnose and live with Urticaria:

Healthcare professionals: Consult a healthcare provider such as a dermatologist, allergist, or immunologist for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. These professionals have the expertise to assess your symptoms, conduct tests if necessary, and recommend appropriate medications or therapies to manage Urticaria effectively.

Patient advocacy organizations: Living with Urticaria can sometimes feel isolating, but connecting with others who share similar experiences can provide invaluable support, encouragement, and guidance. Patient organizations and support groups offer a supportive community where individuals affected by Urticaria can share their stories, exchange information, and find emotional support.

Support groups: Joining a support group for individuals with Urticaria or chronic skin conditions can provide valuable emotional support, practical tips, and coping strategies. Online support groups, forums, and social media communities can connect you with others who understand what you’re going through and offer encouragement and advice.

Family support: Having a strong support network of family and friends can make a significant difference in your journey with Urticaria. Initiate open and honest conversations with your family and friends about your experience with Urticaria. Share information about your condition, including symptoms, treatment options, and how it impacts your daily life as well as your feelings.

Educational resources: Take advantage of reputable educational resources and websites that provide information about Urticaria, its causes, symptoms, and treatment options.

Allergy testing – understanding when it’s needed: If your Urticaria is suspected to be caused by allergens, allergy testing may be recommended to identify specific factors that may cause your Urticaria. This can include skin prick tests, blood tests, or patch tests conducted by allergists or immunologists.

Chronic Urticaria is very rarely caused by external allergens. However, if your doctor suspects that you may have an allergic urticaria, they will carry out prick tests, patch tests or blood tests.