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Arch Dermatol. 1998 Mar;134(3):319-23.

Acute urticaria in infancy and early childhood: a prospective study.

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  • 1Dermatology Unit, Hôpital Pellegrin-Enfants, Bordeaux, France.



To establish the clinical, etiological, and prognostic features of acute urticaria in infancy and early childhood and to define its optimal management.


Prospective study. The inception cohort was collected from April 1, 1992, through March 31, 1994. After initial evaluation, the course of the disease was assessed at 2 months and after 1 to 2 years.


Emergency department of a regional teaching pediatric hospital (referral center), which is also the only pediatric hospital for the general community in the city (population, 600,000 inhabitants).


Fifty-seven consecutive infants, aged 1 to 36 months, hospitalized with a final diagnosis of acute urticaria. Follow-up at 1 to 2 years was available in 40 of 57 patients.


Oral antihistamines (dexchlorpheniramine maleate, terfenadine, or hydroxyzine hydrochloride) for 2 weeks.


Recurrence and chronicity.


Annular or geographic papules and plaques with hemorrhagic lesions were seen in 28 patients (49% of cases) and angioedema in 34 patients (60% of cases). An underlying cause was suspected or identified in 52 patients (91% of cases). Infection, either associated or not with drug intake, was the cause in 46 patients (81%) and foods were the cause in 6 (11%). Parasitic infestations were noncontributory. Hemorrhagic lesions and association with articular symptoms were statistically more frequent in urticaria caused by infections. Atopy in the patient or family was associated in 33 patients (58% of cases), and particularly atopic dermatitis was associated with urticaria caused by food. At 1- to 2-year follow-up, 12 (30%) of 40 patients surveyed had chronic or recurrent urticaria.


Causative factors in urticaria are dominated by benign viral illnesses, often associated with antibiotic drug therapy. In most patients, laboratory investigations are not required. Twenty percent to 30% of cases evolve into chronic or recurrent disease.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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