Urticaria and Angioedema

St. Louis Allergy Clinic for Hives and Swelling

Urticaria and angioedema, or hives and swelling, are allergic reactions that affect most St. Louis residents at some time in their lives. For many, hives are a one-time incident that may seem unexplained. Others experience urticaria and angioedema frequently, and in some cases have extreme and life-threatening reactions. Our allergy clinic in St. Louis provides diagnosis and allergy treatment for persons suffering from allergies and asthma at any stage in life.

Information for Patients Suffering from Urticaria (Hives) in St. Louis

Hives are an inflammation of the skin triggered when the immune system releases histamine, as explained by our St. Louis allergists. This causes small blood vessels to leak, which leads to swelling in the skin. Swelling in deep layers of the skin is called angioedema.

When you come in for a visit, our St. Louis allergy doctor will begin by assessing whether you suffer from acute or chronic hives. Acute urticaria occurs after eating a particular food or coming in contact with a particular trigger. It can also be triggered by non-allergic causes such as heat or exercise, as well as medications, foods or insect bites. A St. Louis allergy doctor may initiate allergy testing to identify the source the hives if it is unknown.

Chronic urticaria is rarely caused by specific triggers and so St. Louis allergists find that allergy tests are usually not helpful. Chronic urticaria can last for many months or years and may or may not be resolved with allergy treatment in St. Louis. Although they are often uncomfortable and sometimes painful, hives are not contagious.

Information on Angioedema from St. Louis Allergy Doctors

Angioedema is swelling in the deep layers of the skin. It is often seen in the same patients in St. Louis who suffer from uticaria (hives). Angioedema many times occurs in soft tissues such as the eyelids, mouth or genitals.

Angioedema is called “acute” if the condition lasts only a short time such as minutes to hours. Acute angioedema is commonly caused by an allergic reaction to medications or foods. A St. Louis allergy doctor can perform tests to determine the origin of the swelling and prescribe an allergy treatment.

Chronic recurrent angioedema is when the condition returns over a long period of time. It typically does not have an identifiable cause. Hereditary angiodema (HAE) is a rare, but serious genetic condition that affects a small portion of the population in St. Louis. This extreme form of chronic angioedema involves swelling in various body parts including the hands, feet, face, intestinal wall and airways. It does not respond to treatment with simple allergy treatments such as antihistamines or adrenaline so it is important to consult with an allergy specialist in St. Louis.

Symptom Information from St. Louis Allergists

People in St. Louis who suffer from urticaria experience itchy, red and white raised bumps or welts that range in size and can appear anywhere on the body. Angioedema often appears on the face around the eyes, cheeks or lips. This deeper layer of swelling can also occur on hands, feet, genitals, or inside the bowels or throat. Consult a St. Louis allergist for diagnosis and treatment of these conditions.

St. Louis Allergy Clinic: Diagnosis of Hives and Swelling

In the majority of chronic cases we see in our St. Louis asthma and allergy clinic, the exact cause cannot be determined. Routine testing such as general blood counts or screens are not cost-effective, nor do these tests make a difference in allergy treatment strategies to relieve the symptoms.

There are certain instances when our St. Louis allergy doctors do find allergy testing be helpful, especially when a patient may be eating a particular food or coming in contact with a particular substance that triggers symptoms of acute hives.

While mild cases of hives and swelling can be treated at home, we recommend consulting with one of our St. Louis allergy doctors for allergy help. Allergies can change and morph throughout life; something that seems minor now could become a more serious allergy at any time. Our allergy and asthma clinic in St. Louis provides comprehensive diagnostic and treatment services for patients suffering from acute and chronic allergies.

Adapted from: http://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/allergies/skin-allergy.

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