#urticariaday2014 International Urticaria Day – find out more about hives and Urticaria to help us promote awareness

Wednesday October 1st , next week, sees International Urticaria Day. So we thought it would be a good opportunity to raise awareness of the condition here at PatientTalk.Org.

More and more people react to everyday situations with an itchy rash and wheals (swelling on the skin). This condition is called hives or urticaria.

International Urticaria Day was created by UNEV (the Urticaria Network e.V.) and the DAAB e.V., two organizations both based Germany. Both organisations aim to improve conditions for people with urticaria and other allergies. The purpose of International Urticaria Day is to raise awareness of this debilitating disease. Educational events for healthcare professionals, people with urticaria , the media and the public will be taking place in Germany and throughout the globe . To obtain more information about local events and to show support, visit www.urticariaday.org and follow the chat on Twitter #urticariaday2014. The Twitter handle is @urticariaday so please follow for more information.

In fact, 1 in 4 people is affected by urticaria. Symptoms are typically present for a few days or weeks –this is called acute urticaria. However, the disease lasts longer in many individuals. In Germany alone, over 1% of the population suffer from chronic urticaria. Which is a very high prevalence. It should be noted that women are affected twice as often as men and the incidence in children requires more research. In some cases it may well be an allergic reaction.

The diagnosis and treatment of chronic urticaria is tough . Only some varieties of urticaria have a known cause. These often takes months to identify and treat appropriately. Regardless of the type of urticaria a person may have, the signs and symptoms are the same – namely itching, redness, hives and/or swelling of the skin (angioedema). Effective treatments are now available more are being investigated. Urticaria is, typically, treated by dermatologists and there are specialized centers that cater of those with severe forms of the disease.

If you have or currently suffer from urticaria it would be great to hear from you please feel free to share your story in the comments section below.

In particular we are interested in the following questions:-
a) What were you earliest symptoms of urticaria?
b) How long did they last for?
c) What treatments for urticaria did you receive? How effective were these treatments?
d) How easy was it to get diagnosed with urticaria?
e) What one bit of advice would you give to somebody who has just been diagnosed with urticaria?

Thanks very much in advance!

Have you ever suffered from an allergic reaction to antibiotics?

Pills and Medication
Pills and Medication

According to the UK’s National Health Service Web site up to 1 in 15 of us can get an allergic reaction to antibiotics.

The symptoms of these allergic reactions can include:-

  • Hives ( a raised skin rash)
  • Wheezing and coughing
  • A tightness of the throat which may lead to some breathing difficulties

The objective of this blog post is two fold .  Firstly to find out what percentage of our readers have suffered an allergic reaction to antibiotics.   Secondly to ask our readers to share their stories about these allergic reactions with other readers.  The sorts of things we are interested in are:-

  1. What was the original problem which lead you to take antibiotics?
  2. What were the symptoms of the allergic reaction?
  3. How did you treat the allergic reaction to antibiotics?
  4. What alternatives to the antibiotics do you use these days?

Fell free to use the comments box below to add your answers.  Or just take the poll!

Many thanks in advance!

Autoimmunity! What actually is an autoimmune medical condition?

Autoimmune disease awareness
Autoimmune disease awareness

On PatientTalk.Org we run an occasional series of blogs which try to bust the jargon used in the healthcare and medical industries.  In today’s blog we are turning our attention to autoimmune conditions.

Autoimmune conditions are, to say the least, very unpleasant.  Importantly they do not just appear in humans but in fact, in most organisms.  Simply put autoimmune conditions are when the body fails to recognise one of its constituent organs as part of itself.  This leads the immune system to, in effect; attack its own body or part of the body.  This will often “present” as inflammation.

There are two main types of autoimmune disease:-

a)      Systemic.  This is where the sufferer’s immune system attacks the whole body.  Lupus can be an example of this. To find out more about Lupus please see our awareness blog http://patienttalk.org/?p=270.

b)      Localised. This is typically when an attack is made on a specific organ of the body.  In the case of Celiac disease (http://patienttalk.org/?p=349) which affects the gastrointestinal organs or tissue.

Typical symptoms and signs of an autoimmune disease can include:-

1)      Pain in either joints or muscles.

2)      Fatigue.

3)      Brain fog or cognitive impairment.

4)      Numbness in the body’s  extremities such as hands or feet.

5)      Reoccurring rashes or hives.

Obviously if you suffer from any of these symptoms it is vital you see a doctor as soon as you can.

Interestingly autoimmune conditions occur more often in women  than men.  Indeed it has been estimated at up to 50 million Americans suffer from one kind of autoimmune condition or another.

There is, as of yet, no full list of autoimmune conditions but certainly they run into hundreds. These include multiple sclerosis (http://patienttalk.org/?tag=multiple-sclerosis), rheumatoid arthritis (http://patienttalk.org/?tag=rheumatoid-arthritis), psoriasis, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Graves’ disease, idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, and Addison’s disease.

Do you suffer from an autoimmune condition?  If so it would be great to hear your story!  You might want to consider some of the following questions:-

a)      What autoimmune condition have you been diagnosed with?

b)      What were your original symptoms?

c)       What treatments did you use?  E.g. Steroids.  How effective were these treatments?

d)      What one piece of advice would you give to somebody who has just been diagnosed with an autoimmune condition?

Please feel free to tell your story in the comments box below.

Many thanks in advance.