Nettlerash is an allergic skin reaction that takes its name from the fact that the symptoms are similar to those which appear after a person is stung by a nettle.

The sting of a nettle releases a substance called histamine in the body, which causes the tiny capillaries (blood vessels) beneath the skin to leak fluids into the tissues around them, and creates burning and itching sensations. The allergic reaction of the body to other substances starts a very similar chain reaction. The substance that sets this off is often a food, but may also be an external irritant, such as dust. Red itchy blotches appear on the skin, and these may be raised red bumps. Quite often they disappear fairly quickly, only to crop up again on a different part of the body. In severe cases they may appear as large red weals, particularly on areas that are rubbed by clothes.

Many people suffer attacks of urticaria during periods of stress, but not at times when they are calm and relaxed, and this is a feature common to all allergic reactions. The body under stress is unable to cope with irritants that are harmless in more favourable conditions.

Essential oils of Camomile and Melissa are traditionally used to treat allergies, and will quickly relieve most attacks of urticaria. An important factor is that both these oils work on the mental/emotional level as well as the physical, having a calming and de-stressing action. In this way, they act on the underlying cause of the allergy, as well as the immediate effect.

Some people will respond better to treatment with Melissa and others to Camomile, or you may wish to combine the two oils in proportions of 1 drop of Melissa to every 2 drops of Camomile. The simplest method of treatment is to put 4 drops of Camomile and 2 of Melissa in a lukewarm bath, especially if the rash covers a large area of the body. Do not exceed the number of drops mentioned, or the bath might make the skin even more irritated, instead of soothing it.

If the rash is very localised, it may be easier to apply diluted Camomile and/or Melissa directly to a small area. Dilute to 1% in boiled and cooled water, and sponge onto the itchy area, or soak a gauze in the solution and wrap it around the area. Greasy creams or oils may make the rash even more itchy, but it you have any non-greasy lotion or cream available, adding a few drops of oil of Camomile to that is one of the most effective ways of giving relief from the irritation.

Any of these treatments can be repeated every few hours until the rash and irritation have cleared.

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