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World urticaria day UCARE 2018

world urticaria day

World urticaria day 2018

You will know October for Halloween, but there’s another essential date to add to your calendars. The 1st of October is World Urticaria Day, and 2018 is the fifth iteration of the global event. It helps to raise awareness of the condition and bring people together. But what is urticaria and what causes it?

What is it?

You might not recognise the clinical name of the condition, but you have probably heard of hives, weals, and welts. These names are commonly used in place of urticaria. It usually manifests on the body in itchy and angry looking bumps. Although it sometimes appears on just a patch of skin, it can, unfortunately, spread to many parts of the body.

Often, the rash will clear up in as little as 24 hours; however, this isn’t always the case. It may affect the skin for about six weeks before disappearing, something called acute urticaria. But in some severe cases, the condition can be chronic and will come and go over many years.

In rare cases, individuals may suffer from urticaria vasculitis; this causes the blood vessels in the skin to become inflamed. Although this type doesn’t last for years like chronic urticaria does, it can last for more than 24 hours and sometimes leaves bruises.

Causes

Acute urticaria affects about 1 in 5 people throughout a lifetime, and people who suffer from allergies are likely to be more at risk.

The condition can be triggered when high levels of histamine and other chemicals are released into the skin, usually as a result of exposure to allergens. The blood vessels then open up, causing the skin to turn red and potentially ‘weep’, leading to itchiness. If you suffer from this, it is advised that you stay clear of alcohol, stress, and warm temperatures as this can make symptoms get worse.

If you suffer consistently for six weeks or more, it isn’t likely to be a result of an allergy. However, if you have experienced it for less time than this, it is critical that you are allergy tested to make sure you know what is causing it.

Awareness

Urticaria can become unbearable and can cause emotional distress; it sometimes even leads to depression. It can affect day to day life, and figures show that 1 in 7 people who suffer from chronic urticaria will experience emotional problems as a result.

Not everybody is aware of the skin affliction, and the effects it can have on a person’s life. The reality is that this is a far more common illness than people realise and we are spreading awareness. As an allergy clinic, sharing information about how allergies can affect people’s lives in big and small ways is essential to us.

This year’s slogan is “Do Better!” Because we can do more to raise awareness. This world urticaria day, search for the hashtags, #uday or #urticariaday, to find out about more people’s experiences of living with the illness, how you can help, and symptoms to look out for.

If you suspect you may be affected by urticaria, book an appointment with one of our experts in UCARE (Urticaria Centre of Reference and Excellence) London Allergy and Immunology Centre.

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