Hives or Urticaria
Hives or urticaria are common allergic reactions. They are itchy, elevated,
red blotches of varying size that appear suddenly and disappear mysteriously
after hours to days. Hives may be associated with dramatic swelling reactions;
swelling of the lips, eyes, and ears can suddenly and grotesquely alter the
appearance of an allergy victim. Marked swelling especially of facial tissues is
referred to as angioedema and may be associated with urticaria. Swelling of
the lips and tongue may occur immediately after eating a food and may be
life-threatening because of airway obstruction. Foods and drugs are the common causes of hives. Some patients get hives
occasionally only when they ingest a specific food, food additive or drug. Other get
hives as a chronic problem which can go-on for years.
The type I version of urticaria tends to occur in acute discrete attacks and
may follow the ingestion of specific foods, over-the counter medications, or
prescription drugs. Atopic children with eczema and rhinitis are prone to
urticaria from food. Hives are associated with high IgE and occur usually as
acute food reactions. Hives also occur as a feature of anaphylactic reactions.
The itchy, erythematous welts, typical of acute urticaria can occur in any
distribution in the body. Infants may develop facial wheals on contact with
food. Adults often have a single bout of
hives when they encounter an
unusual or seasonal food or take a drug. Hives following a strawberry feed in
the summer or after a eating prawns at a sea-food restaurant are typical
Treatment of a hive attack may require oral antihistamine for a few days. An
injection of adrenaline can stop the hives in minutes and can be life saving if
the hives are associated with swelling, wheezing, and shortness of breath. Drug
therapy for UR involves antihistamines both H1 and H2 blockers may reduce the
activity. If hive activity is recurrent or becomes chronic then prednisone will
produce the most dramatic remission of symptoms, but the urticaria often flares
after the dose of prednisone is reduced below a threshold level. Complete diet
revision should be undertaken to remove food causes if the hives recur
frequently or become chronic.
Chronic urticaria is a different disease, occurring in a continuous or
continuously intermittent series of skin eruptions, often associated with other
symptoms. Most patients are not aware of the source of the hives. Some patients
benefit from the elimination of single foods, but often, the cause of the
disease remains obscure and multiple factors are likely to be involved. Chronic
urticaria may be slow to clear and a selective elimination diet often fails
because of reactions to retained foods.
Charlesworth stated: "Urticaria and angioedema are frustrating for patients
as they go from one physician to another in hope of finding that extraordinary
physician who will be able to identify the cause, eliminate the culprit and thus
cure their hives. Physicians treating hives are equally frustrated...."
Both patient and physician would be less frustrated if they used the Alpha
Nutrition Program - a standardized method of eliminating
the culprit and
redesigning the diet to avoid hive recurrence.
Chronic urticaria should be classified as a delayed hypersensitivity disease
and fits into the
type III pattern of food allergy. There is no necessary association with
Atopy, IgE, and skin tests are not helpful to locate the culprit (s). Hive may
be the most obvious expression of an underlying food allergy (delayed pattern)
which causes other symptoms but the connection may not be recognized. Urticaria
also occurs with drug reactions and with infections such as hepatitis B.
Investigations are often carried out to rule out hidden diseases, although
seldom are these investigations helpful - complete blood counts; a stool sample
for ova and parasites, liver and kidney function tests can be done if there is
concern about underlying disease.. Skin prick test and intradermal skin tests
may be positive but have limited utility in predicting which substances cause
the hives. Challenge tests with food coloring agents and preservatives may be
helpful, but are not definitive and do not replace adequate diet revision.
Tolerance to antihistamine therapy may develop in a patient whose symptoms
are previously under control. This tolerance cannot be overcome by increasing
the dosage or by changing the antihistamine. The cause of tolerance is thought
to be due to the down regulation of the H1 receptors. Ketotifen and oral sodium
cromoglycate have been used with some success.
The Solution - Alpha Nutrition Program
Complete diet revision is essential to solve the problems of chronic
urticaria since many food antigens
and food borne chemicals may be
involved. There is no reliable test to identify them. Serious hives require
serious efforts to fix them.
For Adults, order the Skin Rescue
with the supplemental
text on skin disorders. You will receive the program manual and a 500 Gram
bottle of Alpha ENF, try it, get used to the formula and then decide if and when
you are ready for a food holiday.
For Infants and Children
See Children Rescue Starter Pack