Stinging Nettle Rash – Symptoms, Risks and Treatment

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Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) is a weedy perennial flowering plant belonging to the Urticaceae family. They are found commonly in damp, moist, and fertile areas. They are seen growing worldwide especially in countries like North Africa, Europe, North America, certain parts of Asia, etc.

The stems of Stinging nettle rash plants are slender, thin, and hairy. They can grow up to a maximum height of 4 to 5 inches. The leaves of the plants are dark green in color and possess a tapered end. Also, one more interesting fact about these plants is that the flowers and tenders are good for human consumption. The flowers and Tender leaves are actually used in the preparation of salads and other stuff.

However, there are many cons, when it comes to this plant. Yes. you’re right. This plant cannot be completely trusted. One of the most common troubles caused by these plants is the Stinging Nettle Rash.

As mentioned above, the stems of the nettle rash plants are slender and have hair-like structures all over them. These hairs act like stinging needles, which is most probably the reason behind its name.

Now, when your skin comes in close contact with these stinging hair-like structures, it develops some kind of rash, which resembles hives. Hives or urticaria are nothing but small itchy bumps raised over the skin. Through this article, you will come to know about the symptoms, the risks involved, and few remedies associated with stinging nettle rash.

Symptoms Associated with Stinging Nettle Rash

As soon as your skin comes in contact with the plant, it develops tiny bumps around the affected area which are itchy and slightly red in color (sometimes colorless too). The itchy bumps are usually no bigger than one centimeter. In most cases, the stinging nettle rash is not a big deal and can be treated using basic household remedies.

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However, in certain cases, the stinging nettle rashes cause life-threatening issues. In these worst-case scenarios, immediate medical attention must be considered. Just approach your nearest approachable medical practitioner if you develop any of the below-given symptoms:

  • Rash all over the body (usually it affects only the area where the hair-like structures come in contact with). If the rash develops in any other areas it is advisable to seek medical help.
  • Tightness in the chest area and throat or suffocation
  • Wheezing
  • Pain in the stomach
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Soreness in the muscles
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Swollen lips or tongue
  • Diarrhea

All these life-threatening symptoms develop depending upon how much your skin has come in contact with the hair-like structures. It is very easy to identify and differentiate stinging nettle rash from other rashes. The affected area is usually very hot and becomes itchy within a few seconds of contact. The pores of the skin enlarge too.

Risks involved in Stinging Nettle Rash

Usually, the hives developed due to contact disappear within a few hours. If the rash tends to cause discomfort even after 24 hours, then it is time to go and meet your medical practitioner. It will then eventually lead to difficulty in breathing and other difficulties. So, do not waste your time by thinking as it may worsen your current situation.

Some of the Household Remedies for treating Stinging Nettle Rash

The first and foremost thing you have to do is stop scratching the affected area for at least ten minutes. It is a tough task to stop ourselves from scratching but it worsens the condition as it pushes the chemicals released, further into the skin. This eventually causes other discomforts to your system. So keep in mind, No scratching for at least ten to twenty minutes.

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Here are a few of the most preferred home remedies to control the itching temptation caused by the plant and to lessen the risks involved in Stinging nettle rash.

Cold Compression

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The affected area develops a kind of heat which in turn intensifies the urge to scratch even more. Cold compressing the itchy and bumpy area using any cold apparatus like an ice pack, aloe vera gel, etc can distract you for a while from scratching the area. One more remedy which you can prefer is chilled green tea bags.

Whatever substance you are using, make sure you only dab and not rub. Rubbing roughly is really bad.

Baking Soda

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Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, has the ability to provide temporary relief from itchiness. Make a paste of baking soda using a sufficient amount of water and apply it to the affected area. Let it remain in the skin for 5 to 10 minutes. The paste can give you relief from the itchiness by suppressing it. After 10 minutes, wash it away.

However, if you have very sensitive skin, baking soda might not be suitable for you. You might develop irritations on your skin. So, think twice before applying.

Oatmeal Paste

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Let it be a mosquito bite or itchiness due to dry flaky skin, oatmeal paste is always ready for the rescue. Oatmeal has cooling properties which can give you relief from itching and swelling of the skin.

The same can be used to treat itchiness caused due to stinging nettle rash as well. All you have to do is to make a paste out of soaked oatmeal. Then, take a clean muslin cloth or napkin and place the paste over it. Hold the cloth in a position where the paste side is down and gently dab on the affected area.

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Soap

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Well, this is the most commonly sought-after one. Even a toddler knows this. Washing the affected area with soap and running water gets rid of all the stinging hairs so that further allergic reactions do not occur. Avoid using warm water. Use only ice-cold water to wash.

Treatment

Usually, stinging nettle rash disappears within 24 hours. If you are facing discomfort even after 24 hours, then it is better you pay a visit to your doctor. Your doctor may prescribe you topical creams or lotions or ointments containing hydrocortisone. At times, oral antihistamines are also given.

Constant itchiness causes burning sensation and pain in the affected area. In that case, you can go for anti-inflammatory painkillers. Anyways, consult with your doctor beforehand.

Cessation | Stinging Nettle Rash

The only way to prevent stinging nettle rash is by studying your premises. Do not pay a visit to random bushy areas as they might have allergy-inducing shrubs. Wear long pants and long-sleeved tops while walking in your garden or any other place with plants. Also, make sure you are able to identify the plant. Be familiar with its leaf and stem structures. Hope you found this article helpful.

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