Acute Urticaria vs Chronic Urticaria: Know the Differences

Acute Urticaria vs Chronic Urticaria

Acute Urticaria vs Chronic Urticaria: Acute Urticaria is a condition that lasts for a very short period and is featured by the sudden appearance of hives on the skin. This condition usually lasts for less than 6 weeks. The root cause of Acute Urticaria is allergies to certain food, medicines or insect stings. On the other hand, Chronic Urticaria is a persistent skin condition characterized by recurring hives that last for six weeks or longer. Chronic Urticaria is considered to be an autoimmune dysfunction. Physical examination reviewing medical history and allergy testing are a few ways to diagnose Urticaria.

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Difference between Acute Urticaria and Chronic Urticaria

Acute Urticaria results as a sudden hive on the skin, typically lasting less than six weeks, often triggered by allergens like foods, medications, or environmental factors, whereas Chronic Urtcria persists longer. The table below provides the differences between Acute Urticaria and Chronic Urticaria.

Feature

Acute Urticaria

Chronic Urticaria

Duration

Resolves within hours to days

Persists for six weeks or longer

Frequency of Occurrence

Occurs sporadically

Recurs frequently or continuously

Triggers

Often triggered by specific allergens, infections, medications, or other factors

Triggers may include physical stimuli, allergies, infections, autoimmune factors, or maybe idiopathic 

Symptoms

Red, raised, itchy welts on the skin

Red, raised, itchy welts on the skin, may be accompanied by swelling (

Itching

Often intense and uncomfortable

Often intense and uncomfortable, can impact the quality of life

Associated Conditions

Typically does not have associated conditions

It may be associated with underlying medical conditions such as autoimmune disorders, thyroid disorders, or chronic infections

Treatment

Antihistamines and symptomatic relief

Antihistamines, corticosteroids, and other medications for symptomatic relief

Prognosis

Usually resolves without long-term consequences

Can be more challenging to manage and may have a significant impact on the quality of life

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What is Acute Urticaria?

Acute Urticaria can be defined as a skin condition characterised by the unexpected appearance of red, raised, itchy bumps on the skin. The size of hives varies in shape and size. They can appear anywhere in anywhere in the body. Stress, allergic infection. Insect stings are some symptoms.

Causes of Acute Urticaria

  • Allergens: Allergy-causing factors such as certain foods, medications, insect stings or bites, latex, and pollen can trigger Acute Urticaria in susceptible individuals.
  • Infections: Viral or bacterial infections for example common cold, flu, or urinary tract infections, may lead to Acute Urticaria.
  • Physical Stimuli: Exposure to cold, heat, pressure, sunlight, or water that is exposure to physical stimuli can cause hives in some people.
  • Emotional Stress: Stressful events may lead to Acute Urticaria or exacerbate existing symptoms.
  • Contact with Irritants: Certain chemicals or components in skin care products, detergents, soaps, or fabrics can cause hives when exposed to the skin.

Symotoms of Acute Urticaria

  • Raised Bumps: These bums are usually red or pink and can vary in size and shape. They may appear out of nowhere and may even spread across the body. 
  • Itching: The affected areas of the skin can be intensely itchy, which leads to discomfort, further causing a strong urge to scratch.
  • Swelling: In addition to the raised bums, the surrounding skin may also become swollen.
  • Burning or Stinging Sensation: Some individuals may experience a burning or stinging sensation in the affected areas.
  • Warmth: The skin around the hives may feel warm to the touch.

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What is Chronic Urticaria?

Chronic Urticaria is a condition characterised by recurring hives that last for 6 weeks or more. Chronic Spontaneous Urticaria and Chronic Inducible Urticaria are its two types. Chronic Spontaneous Urticaria lacks identifiable triggers and is believed to involve autoimmune dysfunction. Chronic Inducible Urticaria is triggered by specific external stimuli like pressure or temperature changes. 

Causes of Chronic Urticaria

  • Autoimmune Factors: Chronic spontaneous Urticaria is frequently linked to autoimmune mechanisms, where the immune system mistakenly targets its tissues, leading to the release of histamine and other inflammatory substances that cause hives.
  • Allergies: Allergies to certain foods, medications, insect stings, or environmental factors may play a role in triggering or exacerbating symptoms in some individuals. This is seen more in Acute Urticaria as compared to Chronic Urticaria.
  • Physical Stimuli: Chronic inducible Urticaria can be caused by various physical stimuli, such as pressure, cold, heat, sunlight, or vibration.
  • Infections: Certain infections, particularly viral infections, may lead to Chronic Urticaria in some cases.

Symptoms of Chronic Urticaria

  • Repetitive Occurance of Hives: Raised, red, or pink hives that can appear anywhere on the body. 
  • Itching: The affected areas of the skin are usually intensely itchy, causing discomfort and a strong urge to scratch. This itching can sometimes be severe and therefore make it very difficult to do day-to-day tasks and to get proper sleep.
  • Swelling: In addition to the raised hives, the surrounding skin may become swollen, known as angioedema. 
  • Pain or Discomfort: Some individuals with Chronic Urticaria may experience pain or a stinging sensation in the affected areas, especially when the skin is swollen.

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Similarities between Acute Urticaria and Chronic Urticaria

  • Appearance of Hives: Both acute and Chronic Urticaria have sudden onset of raised, red, itchy welts on the skin as their common symptom. 
  • Itching: In both types of Urticaria, the affected areas of the skin are typically intensely itchy, leading to discomfort and a strong urge to scratch.
  • Potential Triggers: While Acute Urticaria is usually caused by specific allergens, infections, medications, or other environmental factors, Chronic Urticaria may also have identifiable triggers in some cases, such as physical stimuli or underlying medical conditions.

In summary, while both Acute and Chronic Urticaria involve the development of hives, they differ in duration and underlying causes. Acute Urticaria usually lasts for about six weeks and is often triggered by specific allergens or environmental factors, whereas Chronic Urticaria persists for longer periods and may have more complex underlying causes.

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FAQ's

What is Urticaria?

Urticaria, commonly known as hives, is a skin condition identified by raised, red, itchy welts on the skin.

What causes Urticaria?

Allergic reactions to foods, medications, insect stings, or other substances, infections, physical stimuli, stress, and underlying medical conditions are all causes of Urticaria.

What are the symptoms of Urticaria?

Symptoms of Urticaria include raised welts on the skin, itching, swelling, and pain or burning sensations in some cases.

How long does Urticaria last?

Acute Urticaria typically lasts for a few hours to a few days, while Chronic Urticaria persists for six weeks or longer, often for months or even years.

How has Urticaria been diagnosed?

Physical examination, medical history review, and possibly allergy testing or other diagnostic tests to identify potential triggers or underlying causes are a few diagnosing options for Urticaria.