Check if you have angioedema
Angioedema is where a part of the body suddenly becomes swollen.
You'll usually have a raised, itchy rash (hives) if an allergic reaction has caused the swelling.
Areas of the body commonly affected include:
- the face – particularly the lips, tongue and eyelids
- the hands or feet
- the genitals
Sometimes the bowel may also become swollen, which can cause stomach pain.
Less commonly, the throat can swell up, leading to breathing difficulties. This is a medical emergency and immediate treatment is needed.
- you get a skin rash that may include itchy, red, swollen, blistered or peeling skin
- you're wheezing
- you get tightness in the chest or throat
- you have trouble breathing or talking
- your mouth, face, lips, tongue or throat start swelling
You could be having a serious allergic reaction ( anaphylaxis ) and may need immediate treatment in hospital.
- part of your body suddenly becomes swollen (such as your hands, feet or genitals)
You can call 111 or get help from 111 online .
Treatments for angioedema
You may not need treatment for angioedema if the swelling is mild or it only affects a small area of your body.
If the swelling is severe or widespread, or if it affects your lips, tongue, or throat, you'll usually need emergency treatment in hospital.
Treatments for angioedema include:
- identifying and avoiding the underlying cause – if a medicine is thought to be the cause, you may be given a different one to take instead
- antihistamine medicine, such as cetirizine, fexofenadine or loratadine
- steroid tablets, such as prednisolone
If you have a type of angioedema that keeps coming back (hereditary angioedema), you may also need medicine to stop this happening.
You may have regular reviews to check if your treatment is working.
If your symptoms do not improve or get worse, you may need to go back to hospital for further tests and treatment.
Types of angioedema
A raised, itchy rash (hives) is a common symptom of angioedema. It often affects the lips, tongue and eyelids, hands, feet and genitals.
Treatments for angioedema include trying to identify the underlying cause and avoiding it, and medicines like antihistamines and steroid tablets.
Types of angioedema include allergic and non-allergic angioedema, idiopathic angioedema (where the cause is unknown) and hereditary angioedema.
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