The term ‘Urticaria’ refers to a skin reaction that causes red or white spots on the skin along with itching. These spots may vary in size, and may appear and fade repeatedly as the disease will run its own course.
Additionally, another type of Urticaria called cold urticaria is also identified. The part of the skin which comes in contact with cold develops reddish colored itching spots. The severity of cold urticaria symptoms vary widely. While some people have minor reactions to cold, others can have severe reactions. Swimming in cold water is the most common cause of a whole-body (systemic) reaction. This causes very low blood pressure, fainting, shock and even death.
As per Ayurveda, Urticaria is referred to as Sheetapitta – comprising of two words sheeta (cold) and pitta (eruptions). This is a condition caused due to dominance of sheeta (cold) over pitta dosha. Sheetapitta is a condition resulted due to excited kapha and vata.
Causes Of Urticaria
The cause of cold urticaria is not well known or understood. Many people appear to have sensitive cells in the skin, either due to genetic causes, or a virus or another illness. The ‘cold’ triggers the release of chemicals called histamines in the cells. These chemicals cause redness, itching and sometimes a whole-body (systemic) reaction.
In Ayurveda, Sheeta maaruta samparsha (Contact with cold winds) is the only mentioned bahya nidana (external cause) responsible for the manifestation of Sheetapitta.
Symptoms Of Urticaria
The signs and symptoms of Cold urticaria include:
- Many temporary reddish, itchy welts (hives) on the area of skin that was exposed to cold
- A worsening of the reaction as the skin warms
- Swelling of hands when holding cold objects
- Swelling of lips and throat when consuming cold food or drink
Urticaria Ayurvedic Treatment
Ayurvedic management involves avoiding of trigger factors and treatment of the symptoms. Ayurveda advises shodhana (Expelling treatment) followed by shamana (Suppressive treatment).
- Yoga & Pranayama
Diet Recommendations (Aahar)
- Avoid milk and milk products, fish and other sea foods which likely cause allergy.
- Use ushnodaka (Warm water) for drinking.
- Consume kapha-suppressing foods and herbs such as lighter fruits (apples and pears), honey, beans, grains, spices and vegetables.
- Avoid salt, heavy fruits (oranges, bananas, pineapples, figs, dates, avocados, coconuts and melons), tofu, nuts, and certain vegetables (tomatoes, cucumbers, and sweet potatoes).