DR P. MARAZZI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR P. MARAZZI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Urticaria skin rash (nettle rash or hives) affecting the back of a patient. Urticaria is a transient swelling and/or flushing of the skin, which ranges from small spots to itchy weals (as here) to an area of general red inflammation. It usually lasts no more than a few hours, although the disorder may recur. Underlying vasodilation and accumulation of tissue fluid in the dermis develops as an allergic reaction. The cause of urticaria is often not known, as in this case. The cause is sometimes a food allergy (shellfish), a drug allergy, or following a virus infection. The itching can be relieved with lotions or by taking antihistamine drugs.
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