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Angioedema is a deep dermal, subcutaneous or submucosal oedema resulting in swelling which generally lasts 24 hours and sometimes longer.
Urticaria/angioedema is generally classified as acute (lasting up to six weeks) and chronic (lasting longer than six weeks).
Most urticaria occurring on a daily basis will not have an Ig E-mediated mechanism.
There is no increased frequency of atopy in chronic urticaria - systemic involvement is minimal although patients will often complain of excessive fatigue.
Chronic urticaria is relatively common, occurring in 0.1% of the population, with 20% still having problems 10 years after its onset.
Symptoms will occur within minutes to a few hours of exposure to an allergen.
Acute reactions are most commonly experienced in childhood.
Urticaria and angioedema can be caused by allergic and non-allergic mechanisms.
While acute urticaria usually resolves quickly, chronic urticaria can persist for years.