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a vascular reaction of the skin marked by transient appearance of slightly elevated patches (wheals) that are redder or paler than the surrounding skin and often attended by severe itching; the cause may be certain foods, infection, or emotional stress. (See Atlas 2, Plate D.) Called also hives. adj., adj urtica´rial.
cold urticaria urticaria precipitated by cold air, water, or objects, occurring in two forms: In the autosomal dominant form, which is associated with fever, arthralgias, and leukocytosis, the lesions occur as erythematous, burning papules and macules. The more common acquired form is usually idiopathic and self-limited.
giant urticaria angioedema.
urticaria hemorrha´gica purpura with urticaria.
urticaria medicamento´sa that due to use of a drug.
papular urticaria (urticaria papulo´sa) an allergic reaction to the bite of various insects, with appearance of lesions that evolve into inflammatory, increasingly hard, red or brownish, persistent papules.
urticaria pigmento´sa the most common form of mastocytosis, occurring primarily in children, manifested as persistent pink to brown macules or soft plaques of various size; pruritus and urtication occur on stroking the lesions.
urticaria pigmentosa, juvenile urticaria pigmentosa present at birth or in the first few weeks of life, usually disappearing before puberty, taking the form of a single nodule or tumor or of a disseminated eruption of yellowish brown to yellowish red macules, plaques, or bullae.
solar urticaria a rare form produced by exposure to sunlight.
Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. © 2003 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc. All rights reserved.


An eruption of itching wheals, collquially called hives, usually of systemic origin; it may be due to a state of hypersensitivity to foods or drugs, foci of infection, physical agents (heat, cold, light, friction), or psychic stimuli.
Synonym(s): hives (1) , urtication (2)
[L. urtica]
Farlex Partner Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012


See hives.

ur′ti·car′i·al adj.
The American Heritage® Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2007, 2004 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.


A condition characterised by pruritic, raised red welts on the skin (dermographism), associated with allergic reactions and histamine release or defects in the complement or kinin systems.
Risk factors
Prior allergic reactions—e.g., hay fever and angioedema.

Urticaria triggers
- Animal dander (especially cats)
- Drugs/medication
- Emotional stress
- Food (e.g., berries, shellfish, fish, nuts, eggs, milk)
- Immune—hereditary angiooedema
- Infection—echinococcus infection (dog tapeworm)
- Inflammation (e.g., mononucleosis, hepatitis)
- Insect bites
- Mastocytosis
- Mechanical stimulants (e.g., water, sunlight, cold or heat)
- Pollen
- Post-infection
- Other disease
   • Autoimmune diseases, systemic lupus erythematosus
   • Henoch-Schönlein purpura
   • Leukaemia, etc.
Segen's Medical Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All rights reserved.


Hives Dermatology A condition characterized by pruritic raised red welts on the skin, associated with allergic reactions and histamine release or defects in the complement or kinin systems Risk factors Prior allergic reactions–eg, hay fever and angioedema Triggers Medications; foods–eg, berries, shellfish, fish, nuts, eggs, milk; pollen; animal dander–especially cats; insect bites; mechanical stimulants–eg, water, sunlight, cold or heat; emotional stress; post-infection; linked to other disease–eg, autoimmune diseases SLE, leukemia, etc; may be partially hereditary, dermographism, cold urticaria, echinococcus infection–dog tapeworm, hereditary angioedema, Henoch-Scho¨nlein purpura, mononucleosis, hepatitis, mastocytosis
McGraw-Hill Concise Dictionary of Modern Medicine. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


An eruption of itching wheals, usually of systemic origin; it may be due to a state of hypersensitivity to foods or drugs, foci of infection, physical agents (e.g., exercise, heat, cold, light, friction), or psychic stimuli.
Synonym(s): hives (1) , urtication (3) .
[L. urtica]
Medical Dictionary for the Health Professions and Nursing © Farlex 2012


(urt?i-kar'e-a ) [L. urtica, nettle]
Enlarge picture
An allergic reaction marked by multiple discrete swellings on the skin (wheals) that are intensely itchy and last up to 24 hr. The wheals appear primarily on the chest, back, extremities, face, or scalp. Synonym: hives See: illustration; allergy; angioedema


Urticaria is caused by vasodilation and increased permeability of capillaries of the skin due to the release by mast cells of vasoactive mediators. The mast cell degranulation is due to an immunoglobulin E–mediated reaction to allergens (e.g., foods, drugs, or drug additives), heat, cold, and, rarely, infections or emotions. Urticaria is a primary sign of local and systemic anaphylactic reactions. It affects people of all ages but is most common between the ages 20 and 40. Angioedema is frequently associated with urticaria.


Drugs that block histamine-1 (H1) receptors (antihistamines) are the primary treatment for urticaria. The use of both H1 and H2 receptor blockers has been recommended but has not been proven more effective. Patients should avoid identified allergens. Doxepin, calcium channel blockers, or immunosuppresive drugs may be needed for symptoms that are not well controlled with antihistamines. Known triggers of urticaria should be avoided.

aquagenic urticaria

Urticaria caused by exposure of the skin to water.

urticaria bullosa

Eruption of temporary vesicles with infusion of fluid under the epidermis.

cholinergic urticaria

Urticaria that develops after exposure to high ambient temperatures (e.g., after exercise, a warm shower or bath, or during a fever). The hives that develop are typically small (1 to 3 mm) and are often surrounded by erythema. Synonym: generalized heat urticaria

chronic urticaria

Urticaria that occurs frequently for 6 weeks or more. It is often associated with angioedema and/or autoimmune disease.

cold urticaria

Cold-induced urticaria that may progress to angioedema.

urticaria factitia

Urticaria following slight irritation of the skin.

generalized heat urticaria

Cholinergic urticaria.

giant urticaria


urticaria haemorrhagica

Urticaria with lesions infiltrated with blood.

urticaria maculosa

A chronic urticaria with red-colored lesions.

urticaria medicamentosa

Urticaria caused by an allergic reaction to a drug (e.g., a sulfa drug).

papular urticaria

Urticaria in which the wheal is followed by a lingering papule and considerable itching. It is most commonly observed in debilitated children. Synonym: prurigo simplex

physical urticaria

Urticaria due to the direct effects of physical forces on the skin. Cold temperature (cold urticaria), pressure (pressure urticaria), ultraviolet radiation (solar urticaria), and scratching (dermographism) are some causes of physical urticaria.

urticaria pigmentosa

Urticaria characterized by persistent, pigmented maculopapular lesions that urticate when stroked (Darier's sign). It typically occurs in childhood. Biopsy reveals infiltration by mast cells.

pressure urticaria

Urticaria produced by pressure perpendicular to the surface of the skin. The persistent red swelling appears after a delay of 1 to 4 hr.

solar urticaria

Urticaria occurring in certain people after exposure to sunlight.
Medical Dictionary, © 2009 Farlex and Partners


An allergic skin condition featuring itchy, raised, pink areas surrounded by pale skin. These patches persist for periods of half an hour to several days and then resolve. Urticaria may result from sunlight, cold, food or drug allergy, insect bites, scabies, jelly fish stings or contact with plants. Treatment is with antihistamine drugs or corticosteroids. Also known popularly as nettle rash or hives.
Collins Dictionary of Medicine © Robert M. Youngson 2004, 2005


An eruption of itching wheals, colloquially called hives, usually of systemic origin; may be due to a state of hypersensitivity to foods or drugs, foci of infection, physical agents (heat, cold, light, friction), or psychic stimuli.
[L. urtica]
Medical Dictionary for the Dental Professions © Farlex 2012

Patient discussion about urticaria

Q. What caused my hives? I woke up this morning and saw that all my back and chest are covered in hives. How did this suddenly appear? What caused it?

A. Urticaria (hives) is generally an allergic reaction, or an immune response to food or some other allergen, but can also appear for other reasons, notably emotional stress.

Q. I was diagnosed with chronic urticaria. What is the reason for this condition? I was diagnosed with chronic urticaria last week after more than two months of urticaria (I have more than twenty 1 dollar coin area no my trunk that are red swollen and itchy). when I was younger I had a similar reaction too a bee sting and I was treated with an adrenalin shoot. Since that one time I never suffered from this kind of symptoms till two months ago. What can be the reason for this condition?

A. As was said before chronic urticaria is a symptom of many problems. I once took NSAIDs for knee pain and I started to itch myself. It took my doctor 3 weeks to understand that I was allergic to this specific drug. I also know that tomatoes can cause me an allergic reaction. Try to think is there anything new in your life? Tell it to the GP maybe he will be able to tell you if this is the reason for your symptoms.

Q. hpv Can i get pregnant

A. You can get pregnant you just need to tell your doctor whats going on so he can keep an eye on the issue.

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