Swelling, also known as angioedema, is a common symptom of an allergic reaction. Swelling occurs when fluid collects in your skin. Allergic swelling often affects your lips, eyes, and face, although it can develop anywhere in your body. Swelling of the face, mouth and throat are often a sign of anaphylaxis and should be treated as a medical emergency.
Angioedema can be genetic, but it is more often due to an allergic reaction to substances such as:
- Pet dander
- Insect bites
- Medications such as penicillin or aspirin
- Hot or cold temperatures
The team of specialists at Columbia Allergy provide extensive allergy testing to help you determine the cause of your swelling. This may include skin prick tests, patch tests, intradermal tests, and food challenges. Your provider will create an individualized treatment plan to manage an episode of swelling and prevent further episodes from occurring. Our Columbia Allergy team may recommend carrying an epinephrine auto-injector, undergoing oral immunotherapy (OIT), sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT), subcutaneous immunotherapy (allergy shots). You may even be a candidate for ultrasound-guided intralymphatic immunotherapy (ILIT) at our office in Fremont, CA!
Hereditary angioedema, also referred to as HAE, is a condition in which a person develops self-limited swelling of skin and mucosal layers as a result of a genetic defect. The swelling can occur anywhere on the body including: hands, feet, face and throat. The swelling can potentially be life threatening if a patient’s airway swells shut. A person may develop episodes of swelling after stress, an illness, physical trauma, or an unknown cause.
Our providers at Columbia Allergy will perform a thorough workup to confirm whether this is the cause of your swelling. The workup may involve allergy testing to rule out an allergic reaction as the cause of the swelling in addition to labs to test for this genetic condition. Once the diagnosis is confirmed, providers can prescribe injectable medication to help reduce attacks.
If you are suffering from angioedema or HAE, call your nearest location or schedule an appointment online today!