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How did my husband get urticaria?

Q: My 38 years old husband visited India last month and stayed in a hygienic and air-conditioned accommodation. He got dysentery during his stay but the condition settled with medication. On his return, he also got urticaria (skin allergy), which has not settled at all. His skin flares up and medicines aren't helping him out much. We don't know how he got this infection. For how long does urticaria last? How can he ease the discomfort? The weather is usually cold and rainy here and he is unable to sleep well because of the skin infection, which has not eased with oil, talcum powder and skin creams. What mode of treatment should we take?

A:Urticaria can happen to anybody at any age. It can be caused by anything you can think of. It can be due to something entering the body from outside. It can be an ingestant like wheat, eggs, nuts, fish, etc; inhalants like pollens, aerosols, smoke, animal dander, etc; injectants like insect sting toxins, drugs, etc. Or it may be due to an internal disease like hepatitis, cystitis, collagen disorders, etc. The list can go on and on. Many a times it is not possible to find the cause and eliminate it. Fortunately, in a good number of cases, urticaria subsides on its own, whether you remove the cause or not. When the condition persists for more than 2 months (an arbitrary cut off), it is termed chronic urticaria. Great majority do not become chronic. Therefore, most of the time, the aim is to make the patient comfortable and tide over the phase, with the least possible drugs so that there are minimal or no side effects. Normally, investigations are begun only if urticaria persists beyond 2 months, earlier if there are clues for other systemic disease or if heavy medication is required for its control.


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