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General Health Information
Symptoms of Nettle Rash
Nettle rash also known as (urticaria) is composed of reddish itchy weals or swellings in the skin similar to those resulting from contact with stinging nettle. The rash may vary in shape and size, can be very itchy and usually goes away within 24 hours. Nettle rash may occur repeatedly or as a single episode.
In about 90% of cases there is no apparent cause. This kind of nettle rash is called idiopathic urticaria. Sometimes, however, it is possible to identify the cause of the nettle rash and it appears to be most commonly due to an allergic reaction.
Symptoms of nettle rash are nettle rash usually starts out as an itchy spot on the skin, after a few minutes the weals develop into areas of reddish blisters of varying sizes, the rash usually lasts for about two to three hours and can then disappear only to return in a different place.
Symptoms may include a particular kind of food that causes an allergy such as eggs, nuts, strawberries and seafood, contact with pollen or fungal spores, medicines, most commonly non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), antibiotics, and ACE-inhibitors, insect bites, infections, which may be caused by viruses, parasites or bacteria, contact with plants such as stinging nettles, contact with animals or creatures, such as stinging jellyfish, physical stimuli, such as feeling cold or warm, sunlight, water, sweating or pressure and substances, such as perfumes, preservatives, colorings, nickel or tar.
During an allergic reaction, a chemical called histamine is released by cells in the skin. Histamine makes the blood vessels dilate and become more permeable (leaky) so that fluid seeps out into the skin. The rash itself is due to a local build up of an excessive amount of fluid in the skin (oedema). In severe cases this may be followed by swelling in other parts of the body as well. If swelling occurs around the eyes, lips, tongue, larynx or hands it is called angioneurotic oedema.
Nettle rash is differentiated according to the cause of the rash and whether it has appeared suddenly or represents a chronic condition, such as attacks that last for more than a month.
In cases of acute nettle rash, the attack begins within an hour of exposure to the allergen so it is often possible to work out what has caused it. Symptoms will appear every time the individual is exposed to that particular allergen. Children and young adults are particularly prone to repeated attacks of nettle rash.
Acute nettle rash can be divided into allergic and non-allergic (physical) nettle rash. Both types present immunological reactions.
Chronic cases are, by definition, more difficult to treat and often need long-term treatment. With chronic nettle rash, the rash may last for several weeks. In extremely rare cases, urticaria may be related to a more serious underlying medical condition.
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