Urticaria (hives or welts) are red, itchy, raised areas of the skin that appear on any part of the body. They may occur with angioedema or swelling of the deeper layers of the skin. When these occur in less than 6 weeks, they can be a result of viral infections, drug, food, stinging insect, or contact with environmental allergies. When they occur repeatedly for more than 6 weeks, they can be related to physical triggers (such as heat, cold, pressure, or sunlight), autoimmune problems (such as thyroid disorder), or sometimes to unidentifiable causes.
Angioedema that does not occur with urticaria is usually non-allergic in nature. It can be due to medication use (most commonly involved are the angiotensin-converting-enzyme-inhibitor medications for blood pressure), or to a familial condition called hereditary angioedema, or may be acquired secondary to underlying blood disorders.
Our doctors will guide you in identifying the cause of your urticaria/angioedema. They will obtain a thorough medical history and determine the most cost effective tests for you. They will provide treatment plans to maximize control of your symptoms and improve your quality of life.
Patients with both urticaria and angioedema who fail standard therapy may be offered more advanced medications such as immunosuppressive drugs or omalizumab. Patients with hereditary and acquired angioedema are treated with special medications allergists are trained to use.