Hives is also called as wheals or swellings and it maybe due to allergy to a food substance or a food additive. Read out article to get information about causes, symptoms and treatments for hives in children.
Hives, also known as urticaria, is mostly occur in children and is not contagious. It is a common skin condition which appear as raised pink to red colored skin welts. This harmless skin allergic reaction might irritate a child a great deal. In children, hives are generally found on arms, legs, back and torso. Usually, symptoms are mild but severe to outright life-threatening symptoms are also possible. Urticaria may also appear as mosquito bites that keep changing their shapes and also their locations. Typically, an individual lesion of hives lasts a few hours before fading away and new hives can appear only after the disappearance of older.
Usually, hives are caused due to an allergic reaction to a drug or food. So, when hives are appeared in child, the first thing parents have to think of is what the child has recently eaten that caused the allergic reaction. In addition to food allergies, many more things can cause hives in kids, including medications, infections, exposure to the sun, and for some kids, even physically stroking their skin, which is called dermographism. When allergic reactions take place, it triggers the release of some chemicals like histamine from the cells of the body that can make skin swell up in hives.
Hives are a type of allergic or immune system reaction that usually cause itching and more severe symptoms, for example wheezing, difficulty breathing or swallowing, or swelling in their mouth or throat, may have anaphylaxis- a serious allergic reaction. Symptoms of hives can appear anywhere on the body, including the face, lips, tongue, throat, or ears. They vary in size and can last for hours, or up to one day before fading.
Causes of hives in children:
The exact cause that triggers the onset of hives on the skin in children is not very clear. A child maybe allergic to a food substance or a food additive may be susceptible to an allergic reaction of hives. Foods for example eggs, soy, chocolates, and shellfish may cause the skin to be allergic and respond with hives-like symptoms. Children may also be allergic to certain food colorants and food additives. As most of the children are allergic to preservative laden foods, parents must make sure that their children do not eat such foods.
Drugs and medications are the other common factors that trigger the onset of hives in children. Kids may be allergic to certain drugs and so parents must keep a watch that the drugs that are administered to the child are destined for pediatric uses only. When hive rashes appeared on the skin of the child, stop the medication of the child and bring your child to a doctor for further medical investigation.
Allergic reaction of hives in children can also be caused by extreme weather temperatures. Very cold temperatures or a very hot climate with related sweat can worsen the condition of hives. Very tight fitting clothes and undergarments can also trigger hives in child.
In schools and day care, children are also exposed to unhygienic conditions. They might get hives rash on the skin as a result of the presence of pinworms and girdia. Certain bacteria for example Stephylococci and some viruses are also known to activate allergic reactions of hives in children. Cholinergic hives is common in adolescents as a result of emotional stress and depression. Some children are also allergic to sunlight and on exposure to sun, they might get severe onset of hives.
Inn short, hives can be triggered by many things including:
- Infections with viruses, bacteria, or fungi
- Food allergies, such as strawberries, eggs, nuts, or shellfish
- A medical condition such as gland diseases, blood diseases, or cancer
- Environmental allergies such as insect bites, pollen, mold, or animal dander
- Physical exposures such as heat, cold, water, sunlight, or pressure
- Medications, especially aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, narcotic painkillers, or antibiotics
Signs and Symptoms of Hives:
Common symptoms of hives are:
- Changes in size and location of lesions
- Pain in lesions if the skin becomes tense
- Itching, burning, or stinging
- Welts, either localized or all over the body
- Several smaller lesions may merge to form one larger welt
Treatment of Hives in children:
The best treatment for hives is to determine the cause and to stay away from the felonious substance. Sometimes, the finding of the cause is impossible.
To decrease itching that caused by hives, topical ointments for example aloe vera extract and hydrocortisone cream can be massaged into child’s skin.
Also, you can add ground oatmeal or tea tree oil in lukewarm bath for soaking purpose to reduce itching and redness.
For children, non-prescription oral and topical medications include brands for example Benadryl and Zyrtec, and work by stopping your body from releasing the histamines that cause hives.
Hives that not treated by over-the-counter antihistamines may require to be treated with a stronger prescription strength medication for example Clarinex or Allegra.
To stop inflammation and swelling caused by hives, steroids such as prednisone or cortisone can be injected or taken orally.
- Apply ice to the hives to decrease swelling and ease itching. According to Children’s Hospital-Denver, rub the area for 20 minutes with a cold pack. A cool bath every couple of hours is also useful to relieve itching.
- Avoid hot showers and baths, tight-fitting clothing and other causes of skin irritation as thetu may aggregate itching and swelling.
- For signs of a worsening reaction, watch the child closely, such as trouble breathing, swelling of the face or tongue, wheezing, pale skin or persistent vomiting. Take the child to the emergency room for additional treatment if any of these symptoms appeared.
- If the cause of the hives is unknown, consult the child’s pediatrician. Also consult your pediatrician if your child has first episode of hives or if he/she suffers from life-threatening allergies.
Swelling of eyelids until they are shut or swelling in the scrotal area is the severe case of hives. This condition is known as angioedema as it causes swelling in deeper layers of skin and may cause life-threatening airway obstruction if there is swelling of the tongue or throat. Emergency treatment is required if your child have difficulty in breathing or swallowing.
When to Contact a Medical Professional?
Contact a medical professional when following symptoms appears:
- Shortness of breath
- Tightness in your throat
- Tongue or face swelling
Hives or Urticaria – Kid’s Health Videos – DrTummy.com video from Youtube: