clinical features

Last reviewed 01/2018

  • the rapid appearance of erythematous, often itchy, swellings are characteristic
  • urticaria can be localised or generalised (1)
    • may take the form of blotches, blisters, or wheals varying in size and shape
    • are transient and usually disappear within a few hours.
    • sites of constriction by clothing are common sites

  • systemic reactions cannot be seen in most of the patients but on rare occasions allergic and some physical urticarias may develop into anaphylaxis. Note though that urticaria is a frequent finding in anaphylactic and anaphylactoid reactions (2)

  • an acute urticaria rash may cover most of the skin surface
  • in chronic urticaria, only a few wheals appear each day

  • angioedema presents in the lips, genitalia and hands; it is life-threatening if the tongue and larynx are affected

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