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Occasional swelling and itching in hands and fingers. Cause?

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Practicing since : 2005
Answered : 1919 Questions
hi, my fingers and hands are swelling and itching for an hour or two from past 1 month occasionally.
This lasts for an hour or two.
Posted Thu, 6 Jun 2013 in Skin Hair and Nails
Answered by Dr. Johny Chacko 1 hour later
Welcome to XXXXXXX
From your description it seems like it is urticaria.
Urticaria is a type of allergy characterised by transient rash associated with itching and swelling.

The fact that you notice it only over fingers and hands is unique and narrows down the cause of allergy to something which your hands come in contact.

There is something called contact urticaria. When the thing which you are allergic to touches your skin you develop it. It can happen minutes to hours later. It could be a latex gloves that you have used, or a fish that you have cleaned or a vegetable that you cut or a detergent that you used for washing clothes or dishes etc. These are examples. It could be anything.

There is another possibility called physical urticaria, which includes cold urticaria and aquagenic urticaria. When your hands touch cold water or anything cold,it develops urticaria. Aquagenic urticaria is urticaria to water irrespective of whether it is hot or cold. Even hot objects can cause physical urticaria. Pressure can cause pressure urticaria, usually occurs after you hold something tightly.

Before I give more details about these conditions it is better to confirm the diagnosis. I would recommend you to consult a dermatologist when you are having an episode so that the diagnosis can be made.
If you have taken a picture of the rash please upload it so that I can assess it better. You have the option to upload photo on the right side of your query page. Please make use of it.
Basically finding the cause is like a detective work and patient's history and her doubts will lead us to the trigger.
The treatment is antihistamines like cetrizine or loratadine or cyproheptadine. Your dermatologist will be able to prescribe them for you.
I am sure you will have further queries and I will be happy to answer them.
Send me the photograph if possible.
Wish you good health
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Occasional swelling and itching in hands and fingers. Cause? 28 minutes later

I don't really have any kind of rashes on my fingers/ arm when it swells.
It is just a swelling and itches only on my forearm
Answered by Dr. Johny Chacko 1 hour later
I understand you perfectly. You have only swelling over the fingers, no rash and only your forearm itches. Thanks for the clarification.
This goes more in favour of urticaria. In urticaria you can have red coloured or skin coloured swellings. Sometimes skin coloured swellings are deep in the subcutaneous tissue, we call it angioedema.
Moreover if there is no rash over fingers it rules out a lot of conditions like contact dermatitis, hand eczema, infections etc
Hope I answered your query. I will be happy to answer any further queries you have.
Take care
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Occasional swelling and itching in hands and fingers. Cause? 11 hours later

morning....,i have taken the picture of my right arm just now,swelling is less. PFA pic
Answered by Dr. Johny Chacko 6 hours later
Welcome back and thanks for the photograph. It surely helped.

It looks like angioedema of hand. Even though the swelling is not large, I could appreciate the sub cutaneous swelling of the fingers in between two creases.

I will recommend you to consult a dermatologist for work up. Because you have itching over forearms and angioedema only over hands I am thinking of things you touch (External causes).
If you get wheals elsewhere over your body, or Angioedema of lips, eyes, tongue or genitalia I will think of systemic causes (Internal causes)

Hope I have answered your query. If you do not have any clarifications, you can close the discussion and rate the answer.

Wish you good health.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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