BTS’s V Has Cholinergic Urticaria. What Is It?

We asked a dermatologist.

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BTS’s V recently revealed that he suffers from cholinergic urticaria. He replied a fan query on BTS’s channel on Weverse app, which asked if he was experiencing symptoms of his chronic condition in the GIF, where he was seen scratching himself. He replied, “No, I have cholinergic urticarial, itchy.”

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So what exactly is cholinergic urticarial ?

Cholinergic urticarial is a type of hives that is caused when your body temperature rises. This means, activities that causes your body to heat up, including taking a hot shower, eating spicy foods, very hot weather or even experiencing anxiety, can cause one to break out in hives.

Dr Tan Hiok Hee, Senior Consultant Dermatologist, Thomson Skin Specialist Centre, says, “It is not genetic in most cases.” The condition can start from late teens to adulthood, and may last for years in some patients, he adds.

What do you do when it happens?

“They cause very tiny bumps which feel like pin pricks and can also be very itchy. If the affected persons starts to cool down and takes an antihistamine, they can actually disappear quickly, within half an hour or so.”

He suggests not to aggravate the situation by rubbing or scratching excessively, as this might cause more histamine release. “Stay calm, start taking the antihistamines and move into a cool environment. Symptom relief is sometimes provided by using some calamine lotion.” He adds, “It is rare for EpiPen to be required in most cases of cholinergic urticaria.”

And in case you’re wondering, no, it’s not infectious.

Can it be prevented?

The good news is, it can be prevented by avoiding the specific trigger that causes a rise in body temperature. So, if you know eating spicy food is your trigger, it’s best to stay clear from it. That said, Dr Tan clarified, “This form of urticaria is not related to diet.”

“It is rare for EpiPen to be required in most cases of cholinergic urticaria.”

Dr Tan Hiok Hee is a dermatologist with expertise in various aspects of medical and cosmetic dermatology. He has published extensively, with more than 80 peer-reviewed journal articles, as well as chapters in textbooks of dermatology as well as sexually transmitted infections.

Want to know more about various medical conditions? Read our Ask A Doctor column. If you have a question you want to ask a doctor, send it to us at cleo@sph.com.sg.

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