Chronic urticaria is the presence of wheals and/or angioedema, with daily or intermittent symptoms lasting more than 6 weeks. Although rarely life threatening, it can be a cause of significant embarrassment and misery. In most cases, no underlying factor is identified. It is therefore important to have a structured approach to the assessment in order to exclude important diagnoses, minimise costly screening tests and ensure a correct diagnosis is made. This article aims to highlight the importance of a focused history, provides a clear scheme for establishing a diagnosis and recommends when to perform appropriate investigations. A short discussion regarding treatment options and prognosis is also provided.
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