If you or your friend or a family member have been recently diagnosed with urticaria and are prescribed cetirizine, keep reading this article to know more about the disease’s types, symptoms, and causes. You’ll also get to know how cetirizine can help control the effect of urticaria, precautions, and instructions while taking the medication and its side effects.

What is Urticaria, and what does it look like?

Urticaria, commonly known as hives, is itchy, red raised bumps (welts) that occur due to skin reaction. The bumps differ in size and appear and repeatedly disappear as the reaction runs its course. In the majority of the cases, they are caused by an allergic reaction to food, medications, or an irritant in the environment. At times, hives may appear without any cause. 

Urticaria can be uncomfortable, and they may disturb your daily activities or sleep. 

Causes of different types of urticaria: 

When an allergen (a substance that causes an allergic reaction) comes in contact with your body, it causes the release of histamine and other natural chemicals in the body. These chemicals cause swelling, itching, red bumps, and other symptoms. Urticaria is a common reaction that occurs due to these allergens. 

Many substances can cause urticaria, which includes:

  • Medicines 
  • Pollen 
  • Animal dander 
  • Shellfish 
  • Fish
  • Insect bites 
  • Eggs 
  • Milk 
  • Other food items 
  • Excessive sweating 
  • Extreme weather conditions 
  • Emotional stress 
  • Exposure to water 
  • Exercise 
  • Autoimmune disorders 
  • Leukemia 
  • Wearing tight clothes 

Many times, the cause of the urticaria is unknown. 

Urticaria Symptoms

The symptoms of the disease include: 

  • Itching 
  • Batches of red or skin-colored welts that appear on the skin, which appear and disappear repeatedly
  • Swelling of the lips, eyelids, or throat 
  • A tendency for signs and symptoms that flare with triggers such as heat, exercise, and stress
  • A tendency for signs and symptoms that persist for more than six weeks and reoccur frequently and suddenly
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Types of Urticaria

There are various types of urticaria, which are described as follows: 

  1. Allergic reactions: It is the most common type of urticaria that is caused by an allergen. 
  2. Anaphylaxis: It is a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction. The allergic reaction often causes difficulty in breathing, vomiting, nausea, severe swelling, and dizziness. 
  3. Chronic hives: The hives that do not have an identifiable cause and are ongoing are called chronic hives or chronic urticaria. They can be a symptom of an underlying health condition too. 
  4. Dermatographism: This is an acute form of urticaria caused by excessive continuous pressure on the skin or scratching. This type of urticaria typically clears up on its own
  5. Infection-induced hives: Viral and bacterial both can cause this type of urticaria. 
  6. Temperature-induced hives: Many times, temperature changes can also cause urticaria in people, especially people who are sensitive to such changes. Both hot and cold weather can induce urticaria. 

How cetirizine helps to control the effect of urticaria, use, and dosage

Cetirizine belongs to the antihistaminic class of medication. This class of drugs works by blocking the action of the natural chemical histamine.  

Cetirizine can be prescribed alone or combined with other drugs of similar action to reduce allergies or urticaria. Cetirizine does not cure urticaria. However, it is used to treat its symptoms. 

Cetirizine provides relief from allergy symptoms such as hay fever, sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, watery eyes, itchy nose, or throat. 

Cetirizine Use for Urticaria

Cetirizine is available as an extended-release tablet, a chewable tablet, and a syrup. It is usually prescribed once a day that can be taken with or without food. To help you remember, you should try and take medicine around the same time every day. 

You should follow the instructions on the prescription label. You can ask your health worker in case of any queries. Take cetirizine as directed by your pharmacist or physician. Do not take more or less than prescribed. 

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If you miss a dose, take medicine as soon as you remember it. However, skip the missed dose and follow your regular dosing schedule if it is time for a second dose. You should not take a double dose to make up for the missed dose. 

Cetirizine Dosage for Urticaria

Adults and children above six years of age can take cetirizine. The normal dose for adults or children above six years is 10 mg per day. You should not take more than 10 mg per day. If your allergies are mild, you may be prescribed a 5 mg dose twice daily.

Like all medications, cetirizine also has some side effects. It is possible that you may not experience any or some of the side effects. You should inform your physician if the below mentioned side effects are severe or do not away: 

  • Diarrhea 
  • Drowsiness 
  • Dry mouth 
  • Vomiting 
  • Excessive tiredness 
  • Stomach pain 

Some of the side effects can be serious. You should inform your physician immediately if you experience it: 

  • Difficulty in breathing 
  • Difficulty in swallowing 

Cetirizine may cause other side effects. Call your health care professional if you experience any unusual or persistent effects while on treatment with the medication. 

If you are on cetirizine to treat hives and if you develop any of the following symptoms: 

  • Difficulty in breathing 
  • Difficulty in speaking 
  • Difficulty in swallowing 
  • Swelling of the tongue 
  • Dizziness 
  • Loss of consciousness 

These are symptoms of life-threatening allergic reactions. You should get emergency help immediately if you experience them. 

Other precautions

Please inform your doctor or pharmacist about being allergic to cetirizine or any of its ingredients. If you have any other allergies, do not forget to share the same with the health care professional. 

Inform your health worker about other prescription, non-prescription medications, and nutritional supplements that you are taking. Also, inform about vitamins and herbal supplements you are taking or planning to take. 

Inform your doctor if you ever had kidney or liver disease. 

You should inform your physician if you are pregnant, planning to get pregnant, or breastfeeding. If you become pregnant while on treatment with Cetrizine, inform your doctor immediately. 

Cetirizine may make you feel drowsy. You should not drive or operate machinery until you know how this medication affects you. 

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You should not consume alcoholic beverages while taking cetirizine, as alcohol can make you feel drowsier while taking the medication. 

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