Urticaria also called nettle-rash or hives or wheels in a common language, simply means itching with a rash. Medically, urticaria may be defined as skin eruption, which is allergic (or non-allergic) in origin and is characterized by profound itching, red circular or irregularly shaped eruptions on any part of the body.
Urticaria is commonly misspelled as uticaria, utricaria, urticara, uricaria. Urticaria is called as pitti in Hindi.
A careful case analysis and evaluation are required to make a correct diagnosis. A systematic history to evaluate the whole system ruling out certain systemic disease such as endocrine disorders, malignancy, lupus, respiratory disease, other allergic disorders, etc. is called for. Hormonal study and thyroid profile may be indicated if the clinical picture so suggests. Ruling out an uncommon possibility of malignancy if supported by other clinical finding and factors is indicated at times.
Angioneurotic edema (ANO, also called as Giant Urticaria) is a variant of urticaria which simply means large (massive or giant) urticaria with severe swelling (edema) of the skin at a deeper cellular level. When this involves respiratory organs such as larynx, it may lead to suffocation and to a medical emergency. The lips may get terribly swollen with ANO.
Dermatographism is an uncommon(4%) and an important urticaria variant, whereby if the skin is rubbed forcibly as in in writing, the written letters could raise showing the urticaria rash, as demonstrated in a patient treated at Life Force.