We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is Nettle Rash?

By Jillian O Keeffe
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Nettle rash is a condition that is due to an immune system problem, and not usually from exposure to nettles. The rash appears on the skin as red areas that may be raised in the skin. Although the condition can resolve on its own over the course of a day, it does tend to return over and over to the affected person. Possible causes include allergies to food, reactions to medicine and exposure to animals.

In a healthy person, the immune system protects the body from dangers like infectious disease. Sometimes the inflammation, redness and swelling that the immune system can use as tools against infection is produced accidentally in response to substances that should not pose any significant danger to the body. This occurs in cases of nettle rash, but often, the person cannot figure out what substances, or conditions, cause the rash.

Typically, a nettle rash produces raised hives on the skin that are red and itchy. This condition is also called either urticaria or hives, and may be present in a chronic form affecting people regularly, or an acute form, happening only rarely. Although the locations of the spots on the skin can change over time, a typical case goes away after only one day.

The swelling and the inflammatory redness is caused by the presence of a substance called histamine in the affected area. Histamine levels rise with allergic immune response, and signal to the blood vessels in the vicinity of the supposed invader to leak fluid into the skin, thus making the raised bumps associated with the condition. As histamine is an integral part of the development of hives, an antihistamine medication can be beneficial to the affected person.

When the person is able to figure out what the cause of the rash is, he or she may find it is a natural, artificial or a physical cause. Natural triggers include pollen, insect bites and foodstuffs. Artificial causes include medications, such as antibiotics and over-the-counter anti-inflammatories. Ingredients in perfume or nickel exposure can also produce the characteristic rash. Even alterations in the physical environment can produce nettle rash, such as exposure to the sun, physical pressure on the skin, or changes in body temperature.

If a person experiences many episodes of the rash, he or she may also have an underlying immune system problem, but this is not common. Some cases of nettle rash, characterized by rash around the mouth, on the hands and next to the eyes, are caused by a condition called hereditary angioneurotic oedema. This is caused by genetic mutations, and requires a doctor's advice rather than antihistamine treatment.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By ysmina — On Mar 08, 2014

I developed a nettle rash when I first moved into my apartment, before the apartment and the carpets were cleaned. It only occurred once and went away with an over the counter corticosteroid ointment. I suspect that it was a mite allergy but I'm not sure because it never happened again.

By SteamLouis — On Mar 07, 2014

@fBoyle-- Good point. I think this name was given because contact with nettle creates a rash that's similar or same in appearance-- red, raised, itchy bumps.

I'm not a doctor but I think that nettle rash is just a folk name or common name for urticaria. Urticaria is the technical/latin name for hives. It's a general category and can include different kinds of rashes. What they all have in common is that these rashes are caused by an allergic reaction. The cause could be immune system related or as an allergic reaction to food or to things that one has had physical contact with.

So technically, if you touch nettle and develop a rash, it's contact urticaria. So it is a type of nettle rash! If you eat something you're allergic to and develop a red, itchy, bumpy rash, that's also a type of nettle rash.

By fBoyle — On Mar 07, 2014

I don't understand where the name of this rash comes from. Why is it called a nettle rash if it has nothing to do with nettles?

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.