Fast Five Quiz: Refresh Your Knowledge on Key Aspects of Acute Urticaria

William James, MD


March 27, 2018

Recognized causes of physical urticaria include the following:

  • Cold

  • Pressure

  • Vibration

  • Cholinergic (triggered by heat, exercise, or emotional stress)

  • Sunlight

  • Water

  • Dermographism (can occur as an isolated condition)

  • Exercise

In 50% of patients with acute urticaria, a specific etiology can be identified. Brief episodes of urticaria can be associated with identifiable causes, and the method of exposure (ie, direct contact, oral or intravenous routes) is usually known. Urticaria is often associated with a recent infection.

In theory, almost any drug can cause an allergic reaction (see the images below); thus, allergic reactions to a wide variety of drugs can occur. Antibiotics, such as penicillin, have been implicated most frequently. Urticarial reactions to penicillin can occur as long as 14 days after a course of treatment has stopped. In this situation, serum sickness may be present.

Urticaria has been reported with infectious diseases. Viral infections associated with acute urticaria include acute viral syndromes, hepatitis (A, B, and C), Epstein-Barr virus, and herpes simplex virus.

For more on the etiology of urticaria, read here.


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