I was Amazed to hear of a woman who was labelled infectious and Avoided by everyone because each day her facelips and eyes swelled up because of a condition which turned out to be chronic idiopathic urticaria, which is not in any way contagious.
I am certain of this because I made a study of it more than two years when I was a practising dermatologist at Bristol.
In Fact this woman had a mystery allergy that caused her body to split out, in hives (nettle rash), every day, I understand the picture well.
Hives Changes around one in five people in the UK, and people with the chronic form, less than one in 100, may have flare-ups lasting a few weeks.
It is Most common in people between the ages of 20 and 40 and triggers may include physical contact with an allergen such as animal, fur, plants such as primulas, foods and medicines.
Throughout the course of my study I discovered surprising causes of urticaria.
For Example, there’s a kind that exercise may bring on, called cholinergic urticaria. I traced a hairdresser’s hives to contact with water, and she had to change her job.
At a fighter, I found his nostrils had been the result of a sensitivity to strain on his own skin.
I Could write his name on his epidermis by”composing” with my finger and then watch the marks come up. This sort of urticaria is called dermatographia.
Urticaria can be recognised since the red, itchy spots come up and vanish in a couple of minutes, typically about 20.
The reddish lumps can be round, 1cm in diameter, or could be big patches with irregular boundaries, a type called geographic urticaria.
Some people also get stains on the face resulting in unsightly swelling.
The spots and stains are reddish, raised, itchy and hot, and therefore are called wheals.
They are Due to the discharge of an irritating chemical called histamine into the lower levels of skin as a consequence of contact with a cause.
The Most useful discovery that came from my research was that many patients with chronic urticaria have a sensitivity to aspirin and it is quite a task to prevent it.
Aspirin is everywhere though we are unaware of it.
It’s in toothpaste for example, and creams, rubs and cough medications.
It’s Worth tracking down how you are being subjected to aspirin since getting it out of your life can facilitate and even cure you of urticaria.
Happily, Most instances of urticaria disappear as fast as they arise — even if Treatment with antihistamines is not successful — which it often isn’t.