Angioedema: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

Angioedema is an allergic reaction. It causes swelling and welts in the deep layers of the skin. Angioedema can sometimes occur along with hives. Hives are an allergic reaction in the outer layers of the skin. Angioedema can range from mild to severe. Painful welts can develop on the face. Angioedema can also occur on other parts of the body. In severe cases, the inside of the throat can swell and make it hard to breathe.

Many things can cause this condition, including foods, insect bites, and medicines (such as aspirin and some blood pressure medicines). It also can run in families. Sometimes you may know what caused the reaction, but other times you may not know.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Take your medicines exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor or nurse call line if you think you are having a problem with your medicine. You will get more details on the specific medicines your doctor prescribes. Some medicines used to treat angioedema can make you too sleepy to drive safely. Do not drive if you take medicine that may make you sleepy.
  • Avoid foods or medicine that may have triggered the swelling.
  • For comfort:
    • Try taking a cool bath. Or place a cool, wet towel on the swollen area.
    • Avoid hot baths and showers.
    • Wear loose clothing.
  • Your doctor may prescribe a shot of epinephrine to carry with you in case you have a severe reaction. Learn how to give yourself the shot and keep it with you at all times. Make sure it has not expired.

When should you call for help?

Give an epinephrine shot if:

  • You think you are having a severe allergic reaction.
  • You have symptoms in more than one body area, such as mild nausea and an itchy mouth.

After giving an epinephrine shot call 911, even if you feel better.

Call 911 if:

  • You have symptoms of a severe allergic reaction. These may include:
    • Sudden raised, red areas (hives) all over your body.
    • Swelling of the throat, mouth, lips, or tongue.
    • Trouble breathing.
    • Passing out (losing consciousness). Or you may feel very light-headed or suddenly feel weak, confused, or restless.
  • You have been given an epinephrine shot, even if you feel better.

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have symptoms of an allergic reaction, such as:
    • A rash or hives (raised, red areas on the skin).
    • Itching.
    • Swelling.
    • Belly pain, nausea, or vomiting.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • You do not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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Current as of: February 12, 2016