Urticaria classification

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Anahita Deylamsalehi, M.D.[2]


There are numerous types of urticaria. Based on the way wheals appear, they can be divided into spontaneous and physical urticaria. Spontaneous urticaria is further divided into acute and chronic urticaria, based on their duration. Mechanical forces and pressure on the skin or the ambient air temperature are responsible factors in development of physical urticaria, which can be divided into more subtypes, such as demographic urticaria, delayed pressure urticaria, cold contact urticaria, heat contact urticaria, solar urticaria and vibratory urticaria. Besides these two main classes of urticaria there are other particular types such as, cholinergic urticaria, adrenergic urticaria, aquagenic urticaria, contact urticaria and drug-induced urticaria.


Urticaria may be classified according to roles of triggers into two subtypes:

Spontaneous urticaria[1][2]

Inducible urticaria[1][2][4][5]

(Less than 6 weeks)
(More than 6 weeks)
Dermographic urticaria
(No identifiable trigger)
(Identifiable trigger)
Delayed pressure urticaria
Cold contact urticaria
Heat contact urticaria
Solar urticaria
Vibratory urticaria
Cholinergic urticaria
Adrenergic urticaria
Aquagenic urticaria
Contact urticaria
Drug-induced urticaria

‡ Can also be classified as physical urticaria.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Zuberbier T (2003). "Urticaria". Allergy. 58 (12): 1224–34. doi:10.1046/j.1398-9995.2003.00327.x. PMID 14616095.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Bracken SJ, Abraham S, MacLeod AS (2019). "Autoimmune Theories of Chronic Spontaneous Urticaria". Front Immunol. 10: 627. doi:10.3389/fimmu.2019.00627. PMC 6450064. PMID 30984191.
  3. Greaves M (2000). "Chronic urticaria". J Allergy Clin Immunol. 105 (4): 664–72. doi:10.1067/mai.2000.105706. PMID 10756214.
  4. Deacock SJ (2008). "An approach to the patient with urticaria". Clin Exp Immunol. 153 (2): 151–61. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2249.2008.03693.x. PMC 2492902. PMID 18713139.
  5. Losol P, Yoo HS, Park HS (2014). "Molecular genetic mechanisms of chronic urticaria". Allergy Asthma Immunol Res. 6 (1): 13–21. doi:10.4168/aair.2014.6.1.13. PMC 3881394. PMID 24404388.
  6. Stepaniuk P, Vostretsova K, Kanani A (2018). "Review of cold-induced urticaria characteristics, diagnosis and management in a Western Canadian allergy practice". Allergy Asthma Clin Immunol. 14: 85. doi:10.1186/s13223-018-0310-5. PMC 6299577. PMID 30574166.
  7. Lawlor F, Black AK, Breathnach AS, Greaves MW (1989). "Vibratory angioedema: lesion induction, clinical features, laboratory and ultrastructural findings and response to therapy". Br J Dermatol. 120 (1): 93–9. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2133.1989.tb07770.x. PMID 2576934.

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