When people are bothered with hives, they usually feel the need to define the urticaria classification. In many ways, the whole exercise is generally unnecessary. If the hives are bothering you enough that you feel the need to find the urticaria classification, it is safe to conclude you have chronic urticaria. In the broadest sense, urticaria classification is either acute or chronic.
If your episode of hives, medically known as urticaria, is severe enough or returns frequently enough that it starts to interfere with your daily activities, your urticaria classification would be chronic and you should put your efforts into finding a way to remedy the condition or find the cause of the outbreaks.
Almost one fourth of the population experiences urticaria at least once
The first thing you should know that regardless of your urticaria classification, you are likely not in any kind of a life-threatening situation, although the suddenness of the symptoms can be a little frightening. The raised splotchy areas are called wheals. They are caused be very small and transient leakage of plasma from small blood vessels into the connecting tissue surrounding those vessels. This usually causes
superficial swelling of the skin that is sometimes itchy as well. Most of the time, these wheals will go away in less than 24 hours and sometimes as fast as 15 minutes without any trace they were even there. This would fit with the more common urticaria classification of acute urticaria. And if it does disappear in a few hours without reappearing in the same place or somewhere else, chances are you will never know the cause and don’t need to concern yourself with it.
Chronic urticaria classification
As opposed to the acute urticaria, the more bothersome chronic urticaria is typically defined as recurring episodes that come on at least twice weekly for 6 weeks or more. Some cases go on for years. If your urticaria episodes occur less frequently than this but over a longer period, it is more correctly defined as episodic urticaria and usually has an environmental trigger that you will be able to identify and eliminate. It is usually a process of elimination and will require you to identify an environmental factor that occurred very shortly before the wheals appeared.
Implicitly, all chronic urticaria goes through a period where it would be defined as acute (before the six week time period elapses). But after you or your doctor determine your urticaria classification as chronic, further investigation should be done on your part so you can get on with your life. There are many natural and alternative ways to rid yourself of chronic urticaria. Below is a clinical urticaria classification table to help you determine which avenue to pursue if you are suffering from chronic urticaria.
- Chronic idiopathic urticaria (spontaneous)
- Chronic autoimmune urticaria (caused by action of antibodies)
Physical Urticaria (defined by the triggering stimulus)
- Adrenergic urticaria (physiological effects similar to epinephrine)
- Aquagenic urticaria
- Cholinergic urticaria (caused by sweat-inducing stimuli)
- Cold urticaria
- Delayed pressure urticaria
- Exercise-induced anaphylaxis
- Localized heat urticaria
- Solar urticaria
- Vibratory urticaria
Contact Urticaria (induced by biologic or chemical skin contact)
Urticarial Vasculitis (defined by vasculitis shown on skin biopsy)
- Can last up to 3 years
- Usually associated with another disease
- May leave residual discoloration