You're likely to start by seeing your primary care doctor. In some cases when you call to set up an appointment, you may be referred immediately to a skin disease specialist (dermatologist) or to an allergy specialist.
What you can do
Here are some tips to help you get ready for your appointment.
- List your signs and symptoms, when they occurred and how long they lasted.
- List any medications you're taking, including vitamins, herbs and supplements. Even better, take the original bottles and a list of the doses and directions.
- List questions to ask your doctor.
For hives and angioedema, questions you may want to ask include:
- What is likely causing my symptoms?
- Do I need any tests to confirm the diagnosis?
- What are other possible causes for my symptoms?
- Is my condition likely temporary or chronic?
- What is the best course of action?
- What are the alternatives to the primary approach that you're suggesting?
- Do I need prescription medication, or can I use over-the-counter medications to treat the condition?
- What results can I expect?
- Can I wait to see if the condition goes away on its own?
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, such as:
- When did you first begin experiencing symptoms?
- What did your skin reaction look like when it first appeared?
- Have your symptoms changed over time?
- Have you noticed anything that makes your symptoms worse or better?
- Do your skin lesions mainly itch, or do they burn or sting?
- Do your skin lesions go away completely without leaving a bruise or a mark?
- Do you have any known allergies?
- Have you ever had a similar skin reaction before?
- Have you tried a new food for the first time, changed laundry products or adopted a new pet?
- What prescriptions, over-the-counter medications and supplements are you taking?
- Have you started taking any new medications or started a new course of a medication you've taken before?
- Has your overall health changed recently? Have you had any fevers or lost weight?
- Has anyone else in your family ever had this kind of skin reaction? Do other family members have any known allergies?
- What at-home treatments have you used?
Nov. 09, 2016
- Habif TP. Urticaria, angioedema, and pruritus. In: Clinical Dermatology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier; 2016. www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Sept. 10, 2016.
- Hives (urticaria). American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. http://acaai.org/allergies/types/skin-allergies/hives-urticaria. Accessed Sept. 10, 2016.
- Ferri FF. Urticaria. In: Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2017. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier; 2017. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Sept. 10, 2016.
- Bingham CO. New onset urticaria. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Sept. 10, 2016.
- Zuraw B, et al. An overview of angioedema: Clinical features, diagnosis, and management. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Sept. 10, 2016.