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Itchy, raised red areas on the skin. Hives are caused by a reaction to certain foods, drugs, infections, or emotional stress. Also called urticaria.

Results: 17

H1‐antihistamines for chronic spontaneous urticaria

Chronic spontaneous urticaria (CSU) is a condition characterised by a rash of red itchy raised weals or hives, which appear for no identifiable reason. Other names include chronic idiopathic or chronic ordinary urticaria. 'Spontaneous' differentiates this type of urticaria from 'inducible' or 'physical' urticaria, for which there are specific triggers such as cold or pressure. 'Chronic' indicates that the condition has continued for at least six weeks. Hives may be intensely itchy, and the appearance may be unsightly and distressing to sufferers. In some cases, hives can be accompanied by deeper swelling, known as angio‐oedema, which is most common around the eyes and mouth.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2017

Histamine‐blocking drugs for hives

Urticaria is a common skin disease characterised by itching weals or hives that can appear anywhere on the surface of the skin. Weals may be pinpoint in size or several inches in diameter. Most sufferers experience hives continuously or intermittently for less than six weeks, but they may last longer (when they are then called 'chronic'). Urticaria can also be accompanied by angioedema (swelling of a deeper layer of the skin). There are several varieties of urticaria, but the most common forms are acute urticaria and chronic urticaria. Common causes of acute urticaria are infections and adverse reactions to medications and foods, whereas in chronic urticaria the cause is often unknown. Intense itching is common, and it can lead to disturbed sleep and even depression, having a serious impact on a person's quality of life. As the face and other exposed body parts can be affected, hives and angioedema can prove embarrassing for the individual.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2015

Comparing New Antihistamines

How do newer antihistamines compare in treating allergic rhinitis?

PubMed Clinical Q&A [Internet] - National Center for Biotechnology Information (US).

Version: February 10, 2011

Prebiotics in infants for prevention of allergic disease and food allergy

There is some evidence that prebiotic added to infant formula may prevent eczema and asthma in infants. However, there is some concern about the reliability of the evidence due to not all trials reporting allergy outcomes and trials not reporting the outcome for all infants. Reactions to foods and allergies (including asthma, eczema and hay fever) are common and may be increasing. Many infants become sensitised to foods, including infant formula, through their gastrointestinal tract, a process that may be affected by the composition of the intestinal bacteria. Attempts to promote the growth of normal gastrointestinal bacteria and prevent sensitisation to foods have included the addition of prebiotic to infant formula. Prebiotics are nondigestible food components that help by selectively stimulating the growth or activity of 'healthy' bacteria in the colon. This review found some evidence that a prebiotic supplement added to infant feeds may prevent eczema in infants up to two years of age. It is unclear whether the use of prebiotic should be restricted to infants at high risk of allergy or may have an effect in low risk populations; or whether it may have an effect on other allergic diseases including asthma. However, further research is needed to confirm the findings before routine use of prebiotics can be recommended for prevention of allergy.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2013

Fever in children: Overview

Many parents start feeling anxious when their child has a hot, flushed face and is running a high fever. Most of the time a harmless viral infection is the cause. But it is still good for parents to know the signs of more serious medical problems and to realize when a doctor is needed.

Informed Health Online [Internet] - Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG).

Version: November 17, 2016

Effects of antihistamines on eczema

Eczema is a common chronic disease. Itch is the most important symptom, and eczema is often accompanied by dry skin. Skin lesions include rash, redness, swelling of the skin, crusts, oozing, and sometimes also bleeding as a consequence of persistent scratching. Although the disease can resolve during childhood, it might also recur in or persist into adult life. The cause of eczema is considered to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Moisturisers, topical corticosteroids, and topical immunomodulators are the mainstay during treatment of eczema, while more severe cases might need UV light therapy or systemic immunosuppressants. Itch is very difficult to treat and leads to scratching, which leads to more inflammation of the skin, and often people with eczema end up in a vicious circle of itching and scratching. The role of histamine in itching associated with eczema is not fully elucidated, but oral H1 antihistamines have been used for many years in the treatment of eczema. These might have been used largely for their sedative action, with highly sedative antihistamines, e.g. chlorpheniramine and hydroxyzine. However, oral H1 antihistamines are widely used in the treatment of allergic disorders, such as urticaria, allergic rhinitis, and allergic conjunctivitis, but their efficacy in alleviating itch and eczema remains unclear. This systematic review sought evidence for the effects and safety of the use of oral antihistamines for eczema, to guide their use in clinical practice.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2016

Maternal dietary antigen avoidance during pregnancy or lactation, or both, for preventing or treating atopic disease in the child

Evidence is inadequate to advise women to avoid specific foods during pregnancy or breastfeeding to protect their children from allergic diseases like eczema and asthma.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2012

Soy formula for prevention of allergy and food intolerance in infants

When babies are not exclusively breastfed, evidence suggests that using a soy formula instead of a cow's milk formula does not reduce allergies in infants and children. Infant formulas have been designed to try to lower the chances of developing allergy or food intolerance. These formulas include hydrolysed cow's milk and soy formulas. A review of trials found that in infants at high risk of allergy who are unable to completely breastfeed, there is no reduction in allergies in later infancy and childhood associated with feeding soy formula compared to a cow's milk formula. No eligible studies were found that compared a soy with a hydrolysed protein formula.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2008

Prenatal administration of progesterone to prevent preterm birth in women considered to be at risk of having their baby early

Babies who are born before 37 weeks, and particularly those born before 34 weeks, are at greater risk of having problems at birth and complications in infancy. Infants who are born preterm are at greater risk of dying in their first year of life, and of those infants who survive, there is an increased risk of repeated admission to hospital and adverse outcomes including cerebral palsy and long‐term disability. Progesterone is a hormone that reduces contractions of the uterus and has an important role in maintaining pregnancy and is suggested for the prevention of preterm labour. Maternal side‐effects from progesterone therapy include headache, breast tenderness, nausea, cough and local irritation if administered intramuscularly. At present, there is little information available regarding the optimal dose of progesterone, mode of administration, gestation to commence therapy, or duration of therapy.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2015

Topical non‐steroidal anti‐inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for the treatment of pain in traumatic corneal abrasions

The aim of this Cochrane Review was to find out if topical (applied directly to the surface of the eye) non‐steroidal anti‐inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for traumatic corneal abrasions reduce pain. Cochrane researchers collected and analysed all relevant studies to answer this question. We found nine studies.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2017

Allergies to animals: Overview

People aren't allergic to the fur of animals, but rather to proteins that are found on the animal's dander (skin flakes), sweat or spit. The allergy usually causes allergic rhinitis and sneezing. Avoiding contact with the animal can help – as can medication.

Informed Health Online [Internet] - Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG).

Version: July 13, 2017

Food allergies: Overview

In food allergies, even small amounts of the food can be enough to trigger an allergic reaction (e.g. itching and swelling in the mouth and throat, or a skin rash). It’s important to get the right diagnosis in order to get the right treatment – and avoid removing certain foods from your diet for no reason.

Informed Health Online [Internet] - Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG).

Version: July 13, 2017

Common colds: Can Umckaloabo or Kaloba relieve the symptoms of acute respiratory tract infections?

There is weak evidence that an extract from the root of the plant Pelargonium sidoides could shorten the length of respiratory tract infections and relieve symptoms. But these extracts can have side effects like stomach and bowel problems.

Informed Health Online [Internet] - Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG).

Version: April 23, 2014

Drug allergies: Overview

Medications can have a number of side effects, including allergic reactions. People who have a drug allergy are often no longer sure which medications they can take, and which they can't. And it isn’t always easy to find alternatives to the medications you’re allergic to.

Informed Health Online [Internet] - Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG).

Version: July 13, 2017

Insect venom allergies: Overview

We all get stung or bitten by insects every now and then – and most people end up with a small, red, itchy bump as a result. But those who are allergic to insect stings or bites may react strongly, and the reaction might even be life-threatening in rare cases. Read about how to deal with and prevent insect bites and stings.

Informed Health Online [Internet] - Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG).

Version: July 13, 2017

The defense mechanisms of the adaptive immune system

The adaptive immune system reacts to pathogens (germs). It can “remember” those that attack, and fights specific antigens (the identifying feature of foreign substances). As a result, the immune system can react more quickly the next time it comes into contact with a particular antigen.

Informed Health Online [Internet] - Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG).

Version: August 4, 2016

Options for Treating Restless Legs Syndrome: A Review of the Research for Adults

This summary will cover: What RLS is Treatment options for RLS What researchers have found about RLS treatments

Comparative Effectiveness Review Summary Guides for Consumers [Internet] - Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (US).

Version: August 30, 2013

Systematic Reviews in PubMed

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Systematic Review Methods in PubMed

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