In the skin disorder nettle-rash, known as urticaria, there is a sudden appearance of white or pink elevations on the skin. Such elevations are termed wheals and may also be caused by insect stings or by nettles. Probably there is preliminary itching, but, in any case, the presence of wheals is accompanied by a sensation of violent itching, tingling or burning.
Only one or two wheals may appear, or they may affect a considerable area of skin, the commonest sites being the buttocks and the front or back of the chest. Wheals may also form on mucous membranes. As a rule, the wheals disappear in an hour or two, but they may last much longer and then leave some pigmentation of the skin. In a type of the disorder called urticaria pigmentosa, the wheals are more or less persistent and are pigmented.
During the course of nettle-rash, scratching or rubbing of the skin tends to bring out wheals.
Sometimes nettle-rash is preceded by digestive disturbances, and in some cases there is a definite connection between the skin manifestations and the ingestion of fish, strawberries, or less frequently eggs, meat of some particular kind or some cereal food. That is to say, the disorder may be of the nature of anaphylaxis. If, therefore, nettle-rash is chronic, a search should be made for some food to which the patient is sensitized. Test outfits for this purpose are used by doctors.
When nettle-rash occurs, if the patient knows that he has taken something which has been responsible for a previous attack, it will be worthwhile to empty the stomach by giving an emetic. In any case, the bowels should be cleansed.
There is a form of the disease called giant urticaria, or angio-neurotic edema, in which large swellings form, usually on the face, the only sensory disturbance being perhaps a little warmth. If the swelling should occur in the larynx there would be grave danger of choking. The causes and treatment are the same as those of the ordinary type of urticaria.
One of the varieties of the so-called gum-rash which affects young children is known as lichen urticatus, strophulus, and by other names. It is a disease similar to urticaria. The trunk and limbs, especially the legs, are the chief sites of the eruption, but it may also occur on the face and scalp.
Little pimples about the size of a pinhead make their appearance, each being surrounded by a zone of reddened skin. In the center of the pimples there may be a little blister, which ultimately forms a crust. The blisters have sometimes a resemblance to those of chicken-pox. There is intense itching, worse when the child is warm in bed, and the rash may be complicated by the presence of scratch marks and blood crusts. Crops of the pimples come out every two or three days, and this may go on for three to four weeks, or longer.
The diet must be scrutinized and anything obviously unsuitable eliminated. The regularity of the bowels should be maintained, say with liquid magnesia.
It is sometimes possible to make wheal-like marks on a person’s skin with a blunt pencil or something of the kind. Broad red lines appear along the track of the pencil, and in a moment or two a white, elevated line. This is spoken of as dermography. Though it resembles urticaria it is quite different, though it also depends on vasomotor disturbance. This in turn may depend on neurosis, alcoholism, epilepsy, or some disturbance of the endocrine glands or some other cause. The marks last from fifteen to twenty minutes and leave no trace on, disappearing. Treatment should be directed to the cause in each case.
Application and treatment:
A vascular reaction infiltration of the skin with appearance of smooth, slightly elevated patches, which are redder or paler than the surrounding skin and attended by severe itching. See: Eczema..
Eruptions rarely last longer than 2 days. It may exist in chronic condition. It may come from gastro-intestinal, pulmonary, or urinary mucous membrane. Eating shellfish like crab, lobster, and shrimp can induce 40 times more iodine than the body can assimilate and can be the cause.
It is commonly called hives. It is also caused by use of chemicals or drugs externally and internally which becomes allergic.
Use positive polarity for 10 minutes over the area followed by five minutes of negative daily.