Hives Angioedema

Hives, Angioedema; these two have a close association and sometimes are similar in appearance as well. Their evaluation and management, and the triggers are also pretty much the same. For better understanding of hives angioedema, let me define these two terms separately for you.

Hives is a skin problem characterized by the pale or pink raised swellings (welts) which sometimes are surrounded by a red halo and usually are itchy in nature. It is called urticaria in medical language so instead of hives angioedema we can also say urticaria angioedema. They can appear on any part of the body due to allergic as well as non-allergic causes. Acute hives vanish themselves within a few hours after their outbreak whereas the chronic hives may last up to years.
Angioedema is a skin problem characterized by the rapid swelling of large areas of dermis or tissues just below the skin. It is not itchy in nature but the patient may feel a burning sensation in the affected area. The swelling may occur anywhere but typically it is found around the eyes and lips. If the tongue and throat get swelled up, you should instantly consult a doctor as it can block the upper airway and can be life threatening.

There are some common triggers that may result in the outbreak of either hives or angioedema. These triggers include certain allergies (e.g. food allergy, pollen allergy), insect bites (e.g. a wasp or ladybug), autoimmune reactions and physical triggers (e.g. extreme temperature).

Hives and Angioedema

If hives and angioedema occur together they can create a great nuisance and can be severe. In most of the cases, angioedema and hives are undamaging and don not leave any permanent marks on the skin, sometimes you even do not need any treatment. On the other hand there are some severe cases which need to be treated as medical emergency. The most frequently opted for common treatment for both hives and angioedema is the ingestion of certain antihistamines which counter the effect of histamine release.


P.S. (from Dr. Gary M. Levin, M.D. & Surgeon)
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