Key points

• Acute urticaria is a common disease.

• It seems to predominate in children and females.

• The aetiology remains mostly unclear, but there is evidence that (acute) infections and concomitant drugs, as well as (food) hypersensitivity are important elicitors.

• The therapeutic evidence for treatment of acute urticaria is qualitatively and quantitatively poor.

• There is evidence that first- and second-generation antihistamines are effective and that the combination with H2 antagonists may have additional beneficial effects.

• A short-term intervention with corticosteroids seems to be superior to a treatment with antihistamines alone, but should be considered in the context of individual needs.

A chapter by Conrad Hauser on Chronic Urticaria has been published on the book website http://www.evidbasedderm.com.

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