Preparing for your appointment

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
References
  1. Habif TP. Urticaria, angioedema, and pruritus. In: Clinical Dermatology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier; 2016. www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Sept. 10, 2016.
  2. Hives (urticaria). American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. http://acaai.org/allergies/types/skin-allergies/hives-urticaria. Accessed Sept. 10, 2016.
  3. Ferri FF. Urticaria. In: Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2017. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier; 2017. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Sept. 10, 2016.
  4. Bingham CO. New onset urticaria. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Sept. 10, 2016.
  5. Zuraw B, et al. An overview of angioedema: Clinical features, diagnosis, and management. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Sept. 10, 2016.