What are hives? They are an itchy skin rash that is red and raised with bumps, triggered by various factors such as allergies, drugs, viruses, insect bits, plants, etc. They can appear anywhere on your child’s body, from the skin to the inside of the mouth and varies in size. Hives can least a couple of hours up to a few weeks, depending on the severity.
- · Food allergies. The most common culprits include nuts, eggs, shellfish, strawberries, and tomatoes. Food additives, including monosodium glutamate, also cause hives in some children.
- · Prescription and over-the-counter drugs. These include codeine, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen, and antibiotics like penicillin and cephalosporin
- · Insect bites. Children tend to react much more strongly than adults to bites from mosquitoes, fleas, and red mites (commonly known as chiggers). Stings from bees, wasps, scorpions, spiders, and jellyfish can also cause hives.
- · Changes in the environment. It’s rare, but occasionally cold, heat, and sun exposure can trigger hives in susceptible individuals.
How Can You Treat Hives for Your Child?
Generally, parents use cool compresses and a cool bath to relieve the itching. Antihistamines, such as Benadryl, are usually the best treatment. These are available at drug stores in liquid and pill form. The hives should eventually fade if your child continues to take Benadryl as instructed. There is also pediatrician-recommended hydroxazine, commonly known as Atarax, that could effectively treat hives. Keep in mind that these antihistamines make most children a little drowsy.
You can always prevent your child from acquiring hives by letting them know what to avoid. Teach your child to avoid allergic foods, and to be weary of insects and bugs. Most hives are not life threatening, but there is a rare possibility of hives becoming anaphylactic shock, which is potentially fatal. For these episodes, swelling happens very rapidly and causes to block the airway. It is recommended that children who have severe allergies carry around an epinephrine pen to inject in case of a reaction. And of course, always seek medical attention immediately.