Diseases & Conditions


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Angioedema


An allergic reaction closely related to ANAPHYLAXIS characterized by hives (large, welldefined swellings) that appear suddenly in the skin and larynx. The swellings may last several hours (or days, if untreated). Cause The most common cause is a sudden response to certain foods (such as strawberries, peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, or seafood); less often it occurs in response to a medication (especially PENICILLIN), insect stings, snake bite, infection, emotional stress, exposure to animals, molds, pollen, or cold. Symptoms Angioedema may cause sudden breathing problems, difficulty swallowing, and obvious swelling of the lips, face, and neck. The swelling it produces in the throat may lead to suffocation by blocking the child’s airway. Treatment Severe cases respond to injections of epinephrine, but use of a breathing tube or even tracheostomy may be necessary to prevent suffocation. In less severe cases, antihistamine drugs often ease symptoms.

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