Urticaria can usually be diagnosed by examining the distinctive red rash.
They’ll also ask you some questions to find out what triggered your symptoms, including:
- when and where the rash began
- what you had to eat just before it began and details of your usual diet
- if you started taking any new medication just before your symptoms began
- if you live or work in an environment where you come into contact with possible triggers – such as pets, chemicals or latex gloves
- if you were stung or bitten by an insect just before your symptoms started
- your current state of health and if you’ve had any recent infections
- if you’ve recently travelled to a foreign country and if so, where
- if there’s a history of urticaria in your family
Most cases of urticaria do not require treatment as the disease is rather mild and often gets better in a few days.
If your symptoms are troublesome or persistent, antihistamines are available over the counter from pharmacies.
You may be prescribed a short course of high-dose corticosteroid tablets, such as prednisolone, if your symptoms are severe.
Leukotriene receptor antagonists:
- Leukotriene receptor antagonists are a type of medication that can help to reduce redness and swelling of the skin.
- useful long-term alternative to using corticosteroid tablets
In around two-thirds of cases, a powerful medication called ciclosporin has proved effective in treating urticaria.Ciclosporin works in a similar way to corticosteroids. It suppresses the harmful effects of the immune system and is available in capsule form or as a liquid.
Omalizumab is given by injection and is thought to reduce a type of antibody that can play a part in urticaria.