Hives that have unknown causes that remain for long periods of time are known as chronic idiopathic urticaria. They can be quite demoralizing and painful to have, causing wheals and constant itching for six weeks or more.
The word “idiopathic” means that the condition originates from an unknown cause. Hives are typically caused by some sort of allergic reaction, causing the body to defend itself and get rid of the intruder.
Why is it a Big Deal?
Idiopathic urticaria tends to baffle allergists, dermatologists, and other such medical professionals. Since the cause is unknown, it is nigh impossible to create an effective treatment, all the while the patient continues to suffer its symptoms.
The skin frequently gets scarred or damaged from the wheals and scratching. This condition may eventually cause secondary depression because the victim may be constantly irritated, embarrassed at his or her condition, and frustrated that nothing they or the doctors do seems to cure their ailment.
Fortunately, there have been some progress in the diagnosis and treatment of chronic idiopathic urticaria. For instance, medical professionals theorize that this disorder is caused by an underlying autoimmune disorder, like lupus, in 30-50% of cases.
The goal is to now determine which autoimmune disease is causing the hives and providing known treatments that can treat that disease. In autoimmune disease, the body will turn on itself, and thus hives are a typical symptom.
Other forms of urticaria can develop along with chronic ones, and as there are a plethora of treatments for each specific type, completely curing the patient can be a difficult task.
Living with Idiopathic Urticaria
Most people who suffer from chronic idiopathic urticaria try to reduce or eliminate contact with sources of allergens in their life. For example, they may try to wash their clothing using only natural detergents, use only fragrance-free products, and avoiding foods that may have come into contact with allergens that can spur a hives outbreak.
So long as they do not cause malnutrition and remain healthy, drastically altering their diet could be extremely beneficial. With that said, patients should be wary of using natural or homeopathic remedies, since a weakened immune system could potentially react poorly to the compounds found in these preparations.
For hives caused by a known allergen, oatmeal baths and oatmeal-based lotions could provide relief without any adverse reactions.
Helping Those Who Suffer
Those who are afflicted with chronic skin problems require sympathy and understanding. Their condition can prevent them from living a normal life, and such debilitating effects can lead to psychological problems.
Helping them in any small way, even if it’s just sympathy and an understanding of the pain they are going through, can help make their lives easier as they undergo treatment.