Dealing with 'Hives' in Children during Summer

Dealing with 'Hives' in Children during Summer Dealing with 'Hives' in Children during Summer Dealing with 'Hives' in Children during Summer

‘Hives’ are a type of skin rash commonly found in all genders and ages. They can also be found in young children. Having distinctive characteristics that set them apart from other types of rashes, hives appear as red, swollen (flare) and raised (wheal) areas, often accompanied by intense itching. The rash has clearly defined, raised red borders, and typically resolves on its own within 2-3 hours, usually not lasting more than 24 hours. In addition to hives, skin rashes in children are a common concern that frequently troubles parents.

What causes hives in children?

  • Infections are the most common cause of acute hives in children. When a child is sick with a cold, cough, runny nose, or a stomach virus causing abdominal pain and diarrhea, hives often appear alongside these symptoms. As the illness improves, the hives typically subside on their own. Most infections that cause hives are viral and usually resolve without treatment;
  • Food allergies can cause hives to appear immediately within 30 minutes after consuming the allergenic food. Common foods that often trigger allergic reactions include eggs, nuts, seafood, and cow's milk;
  • Allergic reactions to various medications, such as antibiotics, antipyretics, and anticonvulsants, can cause hives. These reactions typically occur shortly after taking the medication;
  • Allergens such as dust mites, dust particles, chemicals, pollen, animal dander, and environmental pollutants can also cause hives; and
  • Other physical stimuli, such as temperature extremes (hot or cold), sweating, sunlight, or pressure on the skin (such as scratching) can also trigger hives.

How to check hives-related symptoms

  • Hives, the itchy rashes that appear on the skin, are small and spread out as red raised patches. They usually resolve on their own within 3-4 hours and are often not dangerous apart from the itching sensation;
  • The rash that often involves swollen wheals, typically occur in soft tissue areas like eyelids, lips, and may also lead to breathing difficulties; and
  • Severe allergic reactions often involve systemic symptoms affecting multiple body systems, such as hives, swollen mouth and eyes, difficulty breathing, chest tightness, rapid heartbeat, abdominal pain, nausea, and loss of consciousness.

In children, hives can occur in two forms:

  • Acute hives, which are hives that occur suddenly and typically resolve on their own within 6 weeks; and
  • Chronic hives, which persist for more than 6 weeks. The cause is often unknown, and the condition may have periods of flare-ups and remission that can last for months or even years.

Differences between 'diaper rash' and 'hives':

  • Location in the body: Diaper rash occurs due to irritation of the skin in contact with moisture or irritation from urine and feces. It usually appears in areas covered by diapers. In contrast, hives typically spread all over the body; and
  • Appearance: Diaper rash is often red without raised bumps. The skin may become harsh and sore, with unclear borders. On the other hand, hives are characterized by raised red patches with clear borders and itching.

Basic Prevention and Care Tips for Your Little One

  • Avoiding hives-stimulating agents: Avoid known allergens, such as certain foods and medications;
  • Maintain your child's overall health to prevent illnesses;
  • When acute hives occur, parents can use antihistamines to alleviate symptoms in their little ones. Common antihistamines used for children include cetirizine, loratadine, and diphenhydramine;
  • Apply cool compresses to relieve itching;
  • Calamine lotion can be applied to reduce itching for your little one; and
  • If your child experiences severe symptoms, such as large hives, extreme discomfort, high fever, drowsiness, or difficulty breathing, and, if the hives do not resolve within 24 hours, seeking medical attention promptly is advisable.

A heartfelt thank to Ms. Piyarat ‘Anne’ Lertbannaphong, M.D., a specialized pediatrician.

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(3) Compared to the previous formula.


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