Free activity for CU diagnosis and treatment

The Academy recently launched Fundamentals of Urticaria, a free online activity designed for health care professionals who want to update their knowledge of the diagnosis and management of the condition. This joins a suite of free Academy urticaria resources for dermatologists, patients, and health professionals. Diane R. Baker, MD, led the faculty workgroup that authored the activity, which is available in the Academy’s Online Learning Center.

Member to Member: Why did the Academy develop the activity?

diane_baker.jpgDr. Baker: It was developed mainly for dermatology nurse practitioners and physician assistants. So, the activity is primarily for dermatology care team members. The Academy has already developed an activity for physicians and another for patients. Those have been successful, so we thought it was important to develop one for nurse practitioners and physician assistants, as well.

Even though it’s designed for derm care team members, it would be equally useful for primary care physicians.

MTM: What’s included in the activity?

Dr. Baker: It’s an interactive activity. The user can click through at their own pace. It reviews the definition and pathogeneses of urticaria, with a special focus on chronic urticaria. It explains how to confirm the diagnosis and manage the condition.

The management portion is especially useful because it gives very practical information to help treat patients. For example, it lists antihistamines used to treat the condition, including dosages. It also describes antihistamine-resistant cases of chronic urticaria.

The activity ends answers to some common questions that health care providers have about the condition that may not have been addressed in the activity. For example, if you should ever prescribe corticosteroids for chronic urticaria. The answer to that, of course, is no, or certainly not as a long-term treatment.

There are also answers to questions commonly asked by patients; health care providers now have a resource to answer those questions.

The activity is based on chronic urticarial guidelines published by a coalition of allergy societies. These are generally accepted as the guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of chronic urticaria. The activity links to the guidelines for additional reference.

MTM: How did you become involved in developing the activity?

Dr. Baker: I’ve directed sessions at past Academy meetings on the diagnosis and treatment for chronic urticaria. The Academy recruited me to be on the team that developed the activity. I was joined by two nurse practitioners, Janice Chussil, MSN, ANP-BC, DCNP, and Susan Tofte, MS, FNP-C, and one physician assistant, Keri Holyoak, PA-C, MPH, to author the activity.


Additional chronic urticarial resources

Chornic Urticaria App for Dermatologists
This mobile-friendly Web app is designed to be used by dermatologists, allergists/immunologists, and primary care providers at the point of care to assist  with diagnosing and treating chronic urticaria. Access the app.

Chornic Urticaria App for Patients
Patients who are struggling with chronic hives can turn to a new free tool for help. The American Academy of Dermatology's Chronic Hives Patient App offers tools and resources for chronic hives management. Access the app.