Urticaria is a red, raised, and itchy skin rash that is sometimes triggered by an allergen. An allergen is something that produces an allergic reaction. It is also known as hives, welts, weals, or nettle rash. In this article, we will discuss the causes and treatment of urticaria. What to eat and avoid in urticaria as well as an Indian diet plan for urticaria.
What are Urticaria / Hives?
When an allergic reaction occurs, the body releases a protein called histamine. This histamine causes the tiny blood vessels known as capillaries to leak fluid. The fluid accumulates in the skin and causes a rash. Hives or urticaria can be life-threatening. However, urticaria is not contagious.
Types of Urticaria:
- Short-lived (acute) – Acute urticarial usually disappears in a few minutes or hours. This might last for less than 6 weeks.
- Long-term (chronic) – Chronic hives occur almost daily for more than six weeks and are typically itchy. Each hive lasts less than 24 hours. They do not bruise nor leave any scar.
Symptoms of Urticaria:
Symptoms can last anywhere from minutes to months or even years.
- Hives can appear on any area of the body. They can change shape, move around, disappear and reappear over short periods of time.
- The bumps can be either red or skin-colored known as wheals. It has clear edges that usually appear suddenly and go away just as quickly.
- Pressing the center of a red hive makes it turn white – a process called “blanching.”
Following Urticaria symptoms calls for Immediate medical attention :
- Nausea as well as vomiting.
- Swelling of the lining of the mouth, tongue, lips, as well as throat, causing breathing difficulty.
- Cold skin.
- Rapid heartbeat.
- Faintness or light-headedness.
- An unexpectedly abrupt feeling of intense anxiety.
On which body part do you generally see the red patches/ rashes in urticaria?
The rashes usually occur in batches. You will frequently observe it on the face or the extremities, including the arms, hands, fingers, legs, feet, as well as toes.
Rashes normally disappear within 24 hours, but new ones may form. They can appear on just one part of the body, or on several parts.
Symptoms normally disappear within 24 hours, but sometimes another rash appears as the last one fades.
In some cases, hives can continue for several days. People with chronic hives can have symptoms for months or years.
Triggers or Causes of Urticaria / Hives:
- Certain medications like NSAIDS or hypertension medications.
- Foods such as nuts, shellfish, food additives, eggs, strawberries, as well as wheat products.
- Infections, the common cold as well as hepatitis B, bacterial infections or throat infection.
- Extreme temperatures or sudden changes in temperature.
- Dust mites or pollens.
- Insect bites and stings.
- Sunlight exposure.
- Rigorous exercise.
Treatment of Urticaria / Hives:
- Identify the trigger and avoid the known triggers.
- Non-sedative antihistamines treat acute hives. However, antibiotics may be needed for chronic hives.
- If there is swelling of the tongue or lips or if breathing becomes difficult immediate medication is required.
How to prevent urticaria with known triggers?
- Foods: Don’t eat foods that have been identified to cause your symptoms.
- Rubbing or scratching: Frequent baths with lukewarm water may reduce itching and scratching.
- Constant pressure: Avoid tight clothing.
- Cold Temperature: Avoid exposure to cold air and use a scarf around your nose and mouth in cold weather. If you must be out in the cold, wear warm clothing.
- Sun exposure: Wear protective clothing and also apply sunblock.
- Medications: Notify your physician immediately if you suspect that a specific medication is causing your hives.
Indian diet plan for Urticaria:
Before we see a sample Indian diet plan for Urticaria. Let us first see the list of foods that you need to eat and avoid in urticaria/hives.
Foods to Eat and Avoid in Urticaria / Hives :
Research published by the U.S. National Institutes of Health’s National Library of Medicine (NIH/NLM) states, a histamine-free diet is useful in reducing the symptoms as well as in the treatment of adult patients suffering from urticaria.
List of Foods to Avoid in Urticaria:
Low-histamine and tyramine diet could decrease symptoms as well as improve the quality of life for people with chronic spontaneous urticaria.
List of foods high in histamine and should be avoided:
- Mature cheeses, especially Parmesan and blue cheeses
- Preserved fruits
- Alcohol, especially red wine
- Pickled and canned foods
- Smoked meat products, such as salami
- Fish – tuna, sardine, salmon, shellfish
- Fermented food products
- Beans and pulses
- Foods with preservatives as well as artificial coloring
Foods that can release histamine and must be avoided:
- Most citrus fruit and fresh berries like strawberry
Foods that Contain Tyramine and must be Avoided:
- Cured/smoked/aged food products like cheeses and meats
- Yeast products
- Soy products, such as tofu, miso, as well as bean curd
Foods to Eat in Urticaria:
Medications are the only thing that can quickly save you from urticaria. But eating foods that contain certain vitamins or taking these vitamins in supplement form may help control the urticaria.
Nutrients that help control urticaria:
- Vitamin D: A study found that adding a vitamin D supplement decreases the severity of symptoms by 33 %. If you’re having trouble getting rid of hives, try eating foods rich in vitamin D. Cod liver oil has the most of any food, swordfish, salmon, and tuna. Vegetarians can try fortified products like cereals. read – Health benefits of Vitamin D.
- Vitamin C: High Vitamin C is an antioxidant that can help decrease inflammation. You can always incorporate vitamin C-rich foods like green leafy vegetables, lemon, cabbage, berries, broccoli, musk melon, kiwi, guava, or fortified cereals. Different people can tolerate different foods. Try and pick the food that will work for you without worsening the rashes. Read – Benefits of Lemon.
Sample Indian diet plan for Urticaria:
|Early morning:||Aloe Vera juice with 1 cup water|
Oats Porridge (Coconut milk) with chia seeds 1 Cup
Ragi dosa with Sambar 1 Cup
Poha with vegetables – 1 cup
|Mid-morning:||1 Fruit (Banana/ Chickoo/ Pear/ Papaya/ Berries/ Musk Melon)|
|Lunch:||1 cup Salad + |
2 Chapatis (Vit D fortified flour) choose your flour based on your tolerance for wheat +
Any Vegetable 1 cup +
1 cup Sprouts OR 2 pieces chicken
Rice 1 Cup +
Sol kadhi or Coconut milk curd -1 cup
|Snacks:||1 cup Green Tea + |
2 medium-size Sweet potato Vegetable pancake
|Dinner:||1 cup broccoli soup + |
2 medium-size Nachni / Jowar Roti +
1 cup Vegetables ( choose watery veggies like lauki , toru in combination with any dry vegetable)
|Bed-time:||1 glass turmeric Latte (Coconut milk) OR warm water with lemon|
I hope this Indian diet plan for Urticaria as well as the list of What to Eat and Avoid in Hives is useful for you. If you have any queries or questions please post them below as a comment and we shall get back to you.
Based on the results, it is concluded that a low-histamine diet can be recommended for a period of 3-4 weeks. This will reduce symptoms and antihistamine intake as well as improve the quality of life. Please subscribe to our Youtube channel to watch videos on health and diet. Subscribe Now!