Hives in children, urticaria in children

Is your child troubled with hives popping up unannounced all the time? It is accounted that more than twenty percent of the population suffer from hives at some point in their lives. Most of the times the underlying cause is unknown or idiopathic. However, if you observe your child has been getting random episodes which last for six weeks or more (chronic idiopathic urticaria), you may need to consider receiving treatment to put a halt to it.

Hives also known as Urticaria presents itself with slightly raised, red patches on the skin which invariably goes away within 24 hours. They can appear anywhere on the body in clusters and tends to be itchy in nature. In certain cases, children may experience a burning sensation instead of itching. Sometimes the wheals come and fade reappearing as bigger rashes. The appearance of localized hives on a particular part of the body is due to the direct skin contact of the allergen.

Hives are basically a response to an allergen/irritant such as certain medications, dyes or perfumes, insect bites,  excessive pressure, extreme temperatures, viral infections or food items. Sometimes, stress and emotional factors can also act as a trigger. Viral infections such as stomach flu or cold are the leading causes of hives amongst children. Once the trigger occurs, histamine is released in response to it and continues to do so causing the spread of hives all over the body.

 If your child has had an episode of hives once, they are more likely to have a recurrence.

What can you do?

Before heading to the doctor, narrow down the possibilities which could have triggered the reaction. Was it your pet cat? Maybe something she ate? Recently changed the laundry detergent?

This will help you and your doctor understand the factor to be removed from the house to prevent another bout of hives. Keeping a record will prove beneficial. If you already have figured what might be the root cause, it is best to avoid re-exposure.

 For instant relief from itching, anti-histamines come to the rescue! If your child is prone to it, the regular use of medications for several weeks will suppress the histamine reaction and its snowballing effect. Your doctor may prescribe oral tablets or steroid creams. These medications treat the symptoms efficaciously, although there is no actual cure for it.

Look for products which are marked as hypoallergenic. Such products contain lesser chemicals which won’t irritate your child’s skin.

Application of cold packs on the rashes for 15 minutes can immediately relive any inflammation by reducing the flow of blood.

When is hives an medical emergency?

Usually, hives are harmless and do not pose any life-threatening threat. But sometimes a severe form of allergic reaction may occur. In such cases, it is advised to keep epinephrine injections at hand.

If you observe either of the following symptoms-difficulty in breathing, swelling of the throat or unconsciousness, it is most likely that your child has experienced an anaphylactic reaction. Seek immediate help from the nearest pediatrician.

Read More: 5 Signs of Allergy in Kids