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11-11-2010 | Article

Allergy is not main trigger of urticaria in children


Free abstract

MedWire News: Children with urticaria are frequently referred to the pediatric emergency room, but researchers report that only a few cases are severe and due to allergy.

Urticaria, a skin rash that causes pale red, raised, itchy bumps, often worries parents to the extent that they take affected children to the emergency room.

Giampaolo Ricci and colleagues from the University of Bologna in Italy studied 814 such children and found that only 2% had severe clinical manifestations of the condition.

Infections of the respiratory tract were the most frequently suspected cause of the skin condition, followed by a drug side effect.

Allergic urticaria was diagnosed in just 11% of children, with food allergies (largely milk or egg in children under 2 years of age and nuts in children older than 5 years) and inhaled allergens being the most common causes.

The researchers note in the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology that the different causes of urticaria make it important to study the patient's personal medical history to correctly diagnose the condition.

Also, given the low number of cases with allergic urticaria, they recommend against routine allergy testing in patients with an isolated short episode of urticaria unless they have a clinical history of allergy.

Dr Ricci and team also found that children under 2 years of age were more likely to be referred to the pediatric emergency room with urticaria than older children. They suggest that this may be because the condition is more frequent in children of this age or because of a higher concern among patients of younger children.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Lucy Piper