Mnemonics: Urticaria

Author: V. Dimov, M.D., Allergist/Immunologist and Assistant Professor at University of Chicago
Reviewer: S. Randhawa, M.D., Assistant Professor at NSU

Chronic spontaneous urticaria (CSU) is defined as the presence of urticaria with daily or almost daily symptoms for 6 weeks or more. CSU affects 0.1%-0.8% of the population.

Causes of acute urticaria: IF DVR Stings

Food: fruits, seafood, nuts, dairy, spices, tea, chocolate

Drugs: antibiotics (PCN) and sulphonamides; ASA, NSAIDs
Viral infections
Radio contrast media

Stings - wasp or bee

A more complete mnemonic for the major causes of urticaria and angioedema: FIT MID CHIMP

Foods or food additives
Inhalation, ingestion of, or contact with antigens
Transfusion reactions

Infections: bacterial, fungal, viral, and helminthic; Insects (papular urticaria)
Drug reactions

Collagen vascular diseases
Hereditary diseases
Idiopathic: chronic idiopathic urticaria and chronic angioedema
Mastocytosis, systemic: urticaria pigmentosa
Physical urticarias

Based on: Middleton's Allergy: Principles and Practice, 6th ed., from (requires registration).

Differential diagnosis of chronic urticaria: VIP
Vasculitis, confirmed by biopsy
Idiopathic, 75% of patients
Physical, benign

Physical urticarias: CDC S

Cold urticaria due to cooling the skin
Dermographism due to stroking the skin
Cholinergic urticaria due to exercise, emotion, or heat
Solar urticaria due to sun exposure

Treatment of urticaria: ALAS

Avoidance of precipitating factors
Local (topical) treatments: 1% menthol in aqueous cream.
Antihistamines: H1- and H2-blockers


Published: 01/24/2008
Updated: 01/07/2011

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