Preparing for your appointmentBy Mayo Clinic staff
You'll probably first visit your family doctor or a general practitioner. However, you may then be referred to a doctor who specializes in allergic disease (allergist-immunologist).
To get the most from your appointment, it's a good idea to prepare. Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment and know what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
- 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 and supplements you're taking.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
Preparing a list of questions for your doctor will help you make the most of your time together. For cold urticaria, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What's the most likely cause of my symptoms?
- Are there other possible causes for my symptoms?
- How long will these hives last?
- What kinds of tests do I need? Do these tests require any special preparation?
- What treatments are available, and which do you recommend?
- Do these treatments have any side effects?
- Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing?
- I have other health problems; are the recommended treatments compatible?
- Are there any brochures or other printed material I can take with me? What websites do you recommend?
Don't hesitate to ask any other questions that occur to you.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, including:
- When did you begin experiencing symptoms?
- Have you recently been ill?
- Do others in your family have similar symptoms?
- Have you taken any new medications recently?
- Have you tried any new foods?
- Have you traveled to a new place?
- Does anything seem to improve your symptoms?
- What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?
What you can do in the meantime
If you're experiencing mild hives, these tips may help relieve your symptoms:
- Avoid irritating affected areas.
- Minimize vigorous activity, which can release more irritants into your skin.
- Use over-the-counter antihistamines to help relieve the itching.
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- Kaplan AP. Urticaria and angioedema. In: Adkinson NF, et al. Middleton's Allergy: Principles and Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2008. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/page.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05659-5..00061-9--cesec4&isbn=978-0-323-05659-5&sid=1198615031&uniqId=277214028-5#4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05659-5..00061-9--cesec5. Accessed Aug. 30, 2011.
- Atkins D, et al. Urticaria (hives) and angioedema. In: Kliegman RM, et al. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2011. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/page.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-1-4377-0755-7..00142-1--s0015&isbn=978-1-4377-0755-7&sid=1198760422&uniqId=277214028-10#4-u1.0-B978-1-4377-0755-7..00142-1--s0015. Accessed Aug. 29, 2011.
- Nichols KM, et al. Allergic skin disease: Major highlights and recent advances. Medical Clinics of North America. 2009;93:1211.
- Fromer L. Treatment options for the relief of chronic idiopathic urticaria symptoms. Southern Medical Journal. 2008;101:186.