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Nutrition and urticaria

      Abstract

      Urticaria is a distressing dermatologic condition for many. Although the wheals of urticaria are characteristically evanescent, lasting less than 24 hours, patients tend to have recurrent episodes. Hives that last less than 6 weeks are considered acute urticaria. Acute urticaria does not routinely require supplementary work-up because the history often identifies a convincing, inciting allergen. Chronic urticaria is defined as episodes that occur for longer than 6 weeks, and there is often not an easily identifiable trigger. For both acute and chronic urticaria, patients frequently report food as a precipitating cause. For acute urticaria, the foods that are associated with true allergies, such as nuts and shellfish, are the most frequent offenders. The relationship between diet and chronic urticaria is not as firmly defined. Many patients unnecessarily restrict their diets, so it becomes the role of dermatologists to help patients identify if there is a reproducible link between their symptoms and their dietary exposures. The literature suggests that diets free from pseudoallergens and histamine-releasing foods may attenuate urticaria. Supplements such as fats, vitamin D, iron, and flavonoids have also been studied and may diminish symptoms.
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