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Acute Urticaria / Chronic Urticaria / Angioedema

Hives, or welts, affect one fifth of the population sometime during their lives. Urticaria, better known as hives, are red, itchy blotches of the skin. Angioedema is the actual swelling of the skin and usually affects the hand, feet, waist, eyelids, lips and occasionally, the tongue. Both these conditions are caused by the same process.

Understanding causes

There is evidence that urticarial and angioedema is caused by histamine release into the skin which cause itching and subsequent swelling.

Two forms of urticaria and angiodema

  • Acute - present less than six weeks
  • Chronic - present greater than six weeks

Hives are self-limited

In most people, the hives are self-limited lasting only for a few weeks. In these self-limited cases, the hives and angioedema can be caused by a food, medication, insect sting, or a virus.

Chronic hives cause a great deal of suffering

Chronic hives are a vexing problem for both the patient and the doctor. Chronic urticarial comprises the largest proportion of patients with these disorder seen in a physician’s office. The reason for these hives is unknown in about 95% of chronic hives cases.

Ruling out an obvious cause is the first step. An allergist can help

It is important to determine if any underlying disease is present (e.g. thyroid problems, liver problems, skin diseases, kidney problem) or if there is an allergic cause (i.e. a reaction to a drug, insect, food, that is not obvious). A board-certified allergist can accomplish this with a good history and physical exam, as well as a few blood tests.

Hives treatment is possible. Wise choice of medication is extremely important

The board-certified allergists at The Allergy Group have specialized training and experience in helping you live better free of hives. There are various treatment regimens to help, and more and more are being newly discovered. Omalizumab (Xolair) is the most recent and usually safe treatment approved for chronic urticarial and angioedema. The patient must work closely with their allergist to find a medication regimen that suppresses the hives until they resolve.

The Allergy Group - Friendly, capable and experienced

Our team of physicians and healthcare professionals at The Allergy Group are highly experienced and trained to provide you with the best care. We are committed to your personal healthcare.

Feel better with our help. Call 208-377-4000 today or use our online form to schedule an appointment.

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