Hives can be scary. Your child’s skin develops pink or red bumps, looks slightly swollen, and feels itchy or like it’s burning. The hives may develop in patches that are as large as a dinner plate.
Hives may travel from location to location, as well. Your child may start having hives on their chest only to have them fade and reappear on their face or arms. Hive outbreaks can last for a few minutes or a few hours. In some cases, hives may last several days.
Although they look and feel alarming, hives are not a symptom of a major medical issue. In fact, they’re mostly harmless. Hives occur when your child comes into contact with something that causes their body to release histamine. Fluid leaks from the small blood vessels under the skin which causes the red patches and welts to form.
Many things trigger the release of histamines, including food allergies, medicines, and environmental factors like hot or cold temperatures. In rare cases, hives are an indication of a serious allergic reaction.
If your child has an outbreak of hives, Margaret Lubega, MD, and our team at First Pediatric Care Center in Gastonia, North Carolina, are ready to help. We can help you figure out the triggers to minimize future outbreaks. We can also make sure the hives aren’t related to a serious allergic reaction.
Here are five common causes of hives and how we can help.
1. Food allergies
Food allergies affect about 8% of children. While any food can cause an allergy, common allergens include milk, eggs, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, berries, soy, and wheat. You may be acutely alert to the rare, life-threatening symptom of food allergies known as anaphylaxis. This is when the airways constrict and the body goes into shock.
Food allergies don’t usually cause such a dramatic outcome, however. The allergies can show up as mouth itching, swelling in the lips and tongue, vomiting, and hives.
At First Pediatric Care Center, we can test your child for food allergies and help you keep a log to document possible food triggers.
Certain medications can trigger a histamine reaction in some children. Antibiotics are a common culprit. If your child just started a course of antibiotics for something like an ear infection and experiences hives, contact us for an alternative prescription and treatment plan.
3. Insect bites
Insect bites and stings can cause a localized hive reaction. You can apply a cool, damp cloth the area to ease inflammation. Watch the site of the bite, too. If it starts to swell or your child starts to have trouble breathing, experiences nausea, or becomes lethargic, you should call 911 or get emergency medical care right away.
4. Environmental factors
Temperature extremes can cause your child to experience hives. So can direct sunlight or contact with a sun lamp.
5. Nervous system stress
Exercise can trigger hives and so can stress over a homework assignment. If your child is nervous about a test or a presentation, this can cause a release of histamines to produce hives.
Knowing what causes your child’s hives can help them avoid triggers. But, you can’t always figure out why they get them. The hives may just appear and there’s not much you can do to prevent it.
Over time, your child may grow out of hives and not get them so easily. Until then, our team at First Pediatric Care Center will help you to manage uncomfortable symptoms and any underlying allergies. Call today for an appointment or use the tool here to book your child’s appointment right now.