Hives, also known as urticaria, are a common skin condition that can cause discomfort and worry. Up to 20% of people experience hives at some point in their lifetime, and the condition may occur during childhood. While hives can be quite distressing, the good news is that there are steps you can take to prevent and minimize their occurrence.
At First Pediatric Care Center in Gastonia, North Carolina, Dr. Margaret Lubega offers her expertise when treating children of all ages who find themselves dealing with troublesome hives.
Undoubtedly, having access to exceptional care during hives outbreaks offers you, as a parent, reassurance. However, sparing your child from ever getting hives in the first place would be even more reassuring.
Here are expert tips from Dr. Lubega that may help you prevent hives.
Hives are raised, red, itchy welts that appear on the skin. An allergic reaction or the release of histamines in response to certain stimuli usually causes them to develop.
Common triggers include foods, insect stings, medications, and even stress. Hives can vary in size and shape and may appear suddenly, then disappear within a few hours or days. While they’re generally not harmful, they can be uncomfortable and cause itching, swelling, and even pain.
You can’t prevent every hive outbreak, but you can take steps to reduce the chance that your child will experience them.
Here are some ways to prevent hives:
The first step in preventing hives is to identify and avoid triggers. Keep a record of when your child experiences hives and try to pinpoint common factors. This could include certain foods, environmental allergens, specific fabrics, or even emotional stressors. Dr. Lubega can help in identifying specific triggers through allergy testing.
Once you identify triggers, take proactive steps to avoid them. If certain foods are causing hives, eliminate them from your child's diet. If it's an environmental allergen, such as pollen or pet dander, make efforts to minimize exposure. Regular cleaning, using air purifiers, and keeping windows closed during high-pollen seasons can help reduce allergen exposure.
Protecting your child's skin is crucial. Choose gentle, hypoallergenic skin care products, and avoid harsh soaps and detergents that can irritate the skin. Encourage your child to avoid scratching the hives, as this can worsen the condition and potentially lead to infection. Keeping the skin moisturized can also help prevent hives by maintaining the skin's barrier function.
Some medications can have the side effect of triggering hives. If your child has a known sensitivity to certain medications, let the team at First Pediatric Care Center know before any prescriptions are given..
Stress can play a role in triggering hives, especially in children who are prone to stress-related reactions. Encourage healthy stress management techniques such as deep breathing, mindfulness, and engaging in calming activities. Open communication with your child about their feelings can also help alleviate stress.
Certain fabrics, like wool, can cause skin irritation and trigger hives in sensitive individuals. Opt for soft, breathable fabrics like cotton, and make sure clothing fits comfortably to prevent friction that can aggravate the skin.
Getting medical help
While prevention is key, it's important to note that hives can sometimes be a sign of a more serious underlying condition or a severe allergic reaction, like anaphylaxis – a potentially life-threatening condition. If your child experiences difficulty breathing, swelling of the face or throat, or other concerning symptoms alongside hives, seek immediate medical attention.
Preventing hives in children involves a combination of identifying triggers, allergen avoidance, proper skin care, stress management, and being mindful of potential medication reactions. By taking these steps, you can greatly reduce the likelihood of hives and provide your child with a healthier, more comfortable life.
If you have concerns about hives or need further guidance, call First Pediatric Care Center today or use the online tool to schedule your visit.