Urticaria (Hives) in Children
What is hives in children?
Hives (urticaria) is a sudden outbreak
of red, itchy, and swollen areas on the skin. This condition often happens as an
allergic reaction from eating certain foods or taking certain medicines. In some cases
the cause is not known. Hives can vary in size from one-half inch to several inches in
size. Hives can show up all over the body or just on one part of the body.
What causes hives in a
Causes of hives in children include food, medicines, and other triggers. Common causes
- Anticonvulsant medicines
Other types of hives include:
- Dermatographism. These hives are caused by scratching the skin, constant
stroking of the skin, or wearing tight-fitting clothes that rub the skin.
- Cold-induced hives. These hives are caused by exposure to cold air or water.
- Exercise-induced urticaria. These allergic hives occur because of physical
- Solar hives. These hives are caused by exposure to sunlight or light bulb light.
hives. These are hives that come back with no known cause.
Which children are at risk for
Anyone can get hives. But children with allergies are at a greater risk.
What are the symptoms of hives in
These are the most common signs of hives in children:
pink, or red swollen areas on the skin
can appear alone, in a group, or over a large part of the body
- Hives can go away within 24 hours in one spot but may come back in another spot
How is hives diagnosed in a
Hives can be diagnosed by your child’s
healthcare provider. Your child will first complete a full health history and physical
How is hives treated in a
Treatment will depend on your child’s symptoms, age, and general
health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is.
best treatment is for your child to stay away from known triggers. If the hives were
caused by a medicine, your child should strictly stay away from that medicine.
child’s healthcare provider may also prescribe:
- Antihistamines, such as diphenhydramine or hydroxyzine
antihistamines that won’t make your child drowsy, such as cetirizine or
your child is having trouble breathing, the healthcare provider might use a shot of
epinephrine. This helps decrease the swelling and itching. Your child’s provider may
show you how to use an emergency kit that has epinephrine. This can be kept near your
child in case of future episodes. Discuss this with your child’s provider.
When should I call my child’s healthcare provider?
If your child’s symptoms get worse or he or she has new symptoms, talk with your child’s healthcare provider.
Key points about hives in
- Hives is
a problem in which red, itchy, and swollen areas show up on the skin.
of hives include food, medicines, and other triggers.
- Treatment includes antihistamines and a shot of epinephrine, if breathing is
away from known triggers of hives is important.
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your child’s healthcare provider:
- Know the reason for the visit and what you want to happen.
- Before your visit, write down questions you want answered.
- At the visit, write down the name of a new diagnosis, and any new medicines, treatments, or tests. Also write down any new instructions your provider gives you for your child.
- Know why a new medicine or treatment is prescribed and how it will help your child. Also know what the side effects are.
- Ask if your child’s condition can be treated in other ways.
- Know why a test or procedure is recommended and what the results could mean.
- Know what to expect if your child does not take the medicine or have the test or procedure.
- If your child has a follow-up appointment, write down the date, time, and purpose for that visit.
- Know how you can contact your child’s provider after office hours. This is important if your child becomes ill and you have questions or need advice.
Online Medical Reviewer:
Daphne Pierce-Smith RN MSN CCRC
Online Medical Reviewer:
Deborah Pedersen MD
Date Last Reviewed:
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