Solar urticaria is a rare form of allergic response to sunlight that results to the formation of hives on parts of the skin exposed to the sun. A reaction involves the manifestation of reddened, itchy spots or welts within minutes of exposure to the sun. It can last for a brief period or last for several hours. The precise cause of the condition is unknown. The condition can become chronic, but the symptoms can be effectively managed.
What are the signs?
The primary signs of solar urticaria include reddened patches of the skin that sting, itch and burn. In case hives spreads all over the body, other common allergy signs might be present such as:
- Low blood pressure
- Difficulty breathing
The rash is likely to affect parts of the skin that are frequently exposed to sunlight. If highly sensitive to the sun, hives might also form on areas that are covered with thin clothing.
The manifestation of the rash might vary depending on the sensitivity of the individual. Oftentimes, the hives might blister or become crusty.
Management of solar urticaria
Oftentimes, solar urticaria will settle on its own. The treatment is based on the seriousness of the symptoms. Moving out of the sun can help resolve the symptoms if a reaction is relatively mild.
For minor cases, oral antihistamines might be prescribed by the doctor to pacify the hives or over-the-counter creams such as calamine lotion or aloe vera.
For severe reactions, the doctor might suggest medications such as:
In some cases, phototherapy is also suggested by the doctor. This treatment prepares the skin by regularly exposing it to ultraviolet radiation from a sunlamp. It helps desensitize the individual, but the effects are not likely to last long.