Rationale: Urticaria is a refractory dermatosis with long duration and a high recurrence rate. More to the point, medication of acute urticaria always demands high doses, which may cause some adverse effects. Acupuncture, with a history for over 2000 years, has been utilized in clinical practice as an alternative treatment strategy for dermatologic diseases.
Patient concerns: A 26-year-old male nurse on duty suddenly fell sick during the night-shift in the ward. Wheals began spreading all over his body, but he had no urticaria medicine on hand. The unbearable itching made it extremely difficult for him to resume working.
Diagnosis: The patient was diagnosed with acute urticaria according to the symptoms.
Interventions: A 30-minute acupuncture treatment was performed.
Outcomes: About 5 minutes after needles were inserted into the acupoints, the patient felt significantly relieved of itching sensation; moreover, he could even subjectively control himself from scratching and could calmly wait for gradual disappearance of the wheals. Then 30 minutes later, the wheals almost faded away.
Lessons: The results suggest that acupuncture may be a promising alternative therapy to treat acute urticaria, especially for patients who cannot receive drug treatment.