Friday Health With Nyasha: Hives (urticaria)/ Munyawiri

With Nyasha Kawanzaruwa

Hives (urticaria) are red, itchy welts that result from a skin reaction. 

The welts vary in size and appear and fade repeatedly as the reaction runs its course.

The condition is considered chronic hives if the welts appear for more than six weeks and recur frequently over months or years. Often, the cause of chronic hives is not clear.

Chronic hives can be very uncomfortable and interfere with sleep and daily activities. For many people, antihistamines and anti-itch medications provide relief.

*Signs and symptoms of chronic hives include*

Batches of red or skin-colored welts (wheals), which can appear anywhere on the body

Welts that vary in size, change shape, and appear and fade repeatedly as the reaction runs its course

Itching, which may be severe

Painful swelling (angioedema) of the lips, eyelids and inside the throat

A tendency for signs and symptoms to flare with triggers such as heat, exercise and stress

A tendency for signs and symptoms to persist for more than six weeks and to recur frequently and unpredictably, sometimes for months or years.


The welts that come with hives arise when certain cells release histamine and other chemicals into your bloodstream.

Doctors often can't identify the reason for chronic hives or why acute hives sometimes turn into a long-term problem. The skin reaction may be triggered by:

Pain medications

Insects or parasites



Heat or cold




Alcohol or food

Pressure on the skin, as from a tight waistband

In some cases, chronic hives may be related to an underlying illness, such as a thyroid diseases.


Chronic hives don't put you at any sudden risk of a serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis). 

But if you do experience hives as part of a serious allergic reaction, seek emergency care. 

Signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis include dizziness, trouble breathing, and swelling of your lips, eyelids and tongue.

*Seek emergency medical care*

If you have severe hives or hives that continue to appear for several days.

*Home remedies*

Bathing in an anti-itch solution. Oatmeal and baking soda baths can soothe skin and reduce irritation. ...

Applying aloe vera. The healing properties of aloe vera may soothe and reduce hives. ...

Avoiding irritants. This includes perfumes, fragranced soaps or moisturizers, and staying out of the sun.

(Nyasha Kawanzaruwa is a nurse at Matizha Clinic in Gutu District in Masvingo)


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