Itching swollen hands, usually a symptom of angioedema, may not need treatment, but if symptoms are severe, they may require prescribed antihistamines or corticosteroids. People suffering from the condition should avoid things to which they are allergic, states MedlinePlus.
Angioedema is an allergic reaction that causes swelling and itching. It is similar to hives, but angioedema occurs underneath the skin, while hives occur above the skin. Some allergens that cause angioedema are animal dander, insect bites, shellfish, nuts and milk. Also, angioedema can result from an allergic reaction to medicines, such as antibiotics and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. The symptoms are usually mild and last a few days, according to MedlinePlus.
Other symptoms can occur with angioedema, such as abdominal cramping, breathing difficulties and swelling around the eyes and mouth. Angioedema can also be painful; cold compresses can alleviate the pain. Seek immediate medical attention in the event of breathing difficulties, especially if throat swelling is the cause. Also, fainting and wheezing may be indications of a medical emergency, states MedlinePlus.
Angioedema can also occur in situations when the immune system has been weakened, such as after infections due to another illness or from cancer treatments. Angioedema can also be hereditary, in which case the triggers and treatments may differ from nonhereditary angioedema, states MedlinePlus.