Angioedema is a potentially dangerous condition involving sudden swelling of the superficial tissues of the body. Blood vessels in a local region suddenly become leaky and large amounts of fluid accumulates in the tissues between the cells. It is triggered by the immune system in response to allergens including foods, medicines, insect bites or stings, infections, and sometimes to trauma to the body area.

The most common areas of the body involved in angioedema are the facial and genital regions. If it affects the airway, it can be fatal.

Treatment of angioedema consists of

  • making sure the airway is not compromised - this may mean admission to the hospital or even intensive care unit; emergency intubation or even surgical airway placement may be necessary
  • drugs - administration of adrenalin (epinephrine) injections, antihistamines and steroids either by mouth or intravenously

Quick intervention and effective treatment usually can stop the attack rapidly and safely. Call your doctor or seek immediate medical attention if signs of sudden massive swelling occur in your child, especially if it involves the face, particularly the mouth.

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