Diagnosis

Your doctor can diagnose dermatographia with a simple test. He or she will draw a tongue depressor across the skin of your arm or back to see if a red, swollen line or a welt (wheal) appears within a few minutes.

Treatment

Symptoms of dermatographia usually go away on their own, and treatment for dermatographia generally isn't necessary. However, if the condition is severe or bothersome, your doctor may recommend antihistamine medications such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl), fexofenadine (Allegra) or cetirizine (Zyrtec).

Preparing for your appointment

You're likely to start by seeing your primary care doctor. However, in some cases when you call to set up an appointment, you may be referred immediately to a doctor who specializes in skin conditions (dermatologist) or one who specializes in allergies (allergist).

Here's some information to help you prepare for your appointment.

What you can do

At the time you make the appointment, be sure to ask if there's anything you need to do in advance, such as not take antihistamines for several days beforehand.

You may also want to:

  • Write down any symptoms you're experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
  • Write down key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes.
  • Make a list of all medications, vitamins or supplements you're taking.

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, including:

  • When did you begin experiencing symptoms?
  • Were your symptoms preceded by an illness or a new medication?
  • Have your symptoms been continuous or occasional?
  • How severe are your symptoms?
  • Do your symptoms cause you to restrict your activities or interfere with your lifestyle?
  • Do you have allergies? To what?
  • Do you have dry skin or any other skin conditions?
  • Does anything improve your symptoms?
  • Does anything make your symptoms worse?
Sept. 04, 2015
References
  1. Dice JP, et al. Physical urticarias. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Aug. 16, 2015.
  2. Goldsmith LA, et al., eds. Urticaria and angioedema. In: Fitzpatrick's Dermatology in General Medicine. 8th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com. Accessed Aug. 16, 2015.
  3. Adkinson NF, et al. Urticaria and angioedema. In: Middleton's Allergy: Principles and Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2014. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Aug. 16, 2015.
  4. Amin P, et al. Investigation of patient-specific characteristics associated with treatment outcomes for chronic urticaria. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice. 2015;3:400.