Urgent message: Patients often present to urgent care with symptoms associated with urticaria and angioedema. Identifying the probable cause can provide relief of symptoms and abate patient concerns.
Kent A. Knauer, MD, Director, Allergy and Asthma Center, University Hospitals, Cleveland, OH
Urticaria and angioedema are rarely life threatening, but they are extremely disruptive to quality of life and sleep. In addition, hives may be alarming and lead patients to wonder if something serious is afoot. Swelling of the tongue or throat is particularly likely to be the source of some concern.
Small wonder, then, that patients with acute urticaria and angioedema are often first evaluated in an urgent care center. In this article, we will discuss urticaria and angioedema from my perspective as director of the Allergy and Asthma Center at University Hospitals in Cleveland, OH and as presented in three distinct patients who were treated in an urgent care setting. I will also offer some perspective on when to refer
to a specialist and will provide a few illustrative cases along the way.