The Link Between Stress and Hives

As an adult, you know all about stress. It can make your heart race, your blood pressure skyrocket, and your headache. But did you know it can also cause hives? And did you know it’s not just an adult problem? If your child is complaining of an itchy, red rash, it may be hives, and it may be caused by stress.

To be certain what your child is experiencing, it’s best to come in and see Dr. Margaret Lubega. The community of Gastonia trusts her to compassionately and expertly care for their young ones. If you think your child might have hives, Dr. Lubega and her team can accurately diagnose the problem and help you understand what’s causing it. Hives are often triggered by viral infections, exposure to the sun, or overexertion during exercise. But stress, even in children, can bring on the bumps as well.

Here’s what she wants you to know about the link between stress and hives in your little ones.

What do kids have to be stressed about?

You’d be surprised to learn the amount of stress kids are exposed to these days. Depending on your child’s age and personality, the amount of stress and the way he or she deals with it varies. Generally, stress in young children is set off by changes. These might include:

Young children need to feel safe and secure, and when they don’t, they get stressed out.

Stressors for older kids come from other age-related sources:

How to recognize stress hives in children

The general signs of stress in children are similar to those you might feel yourself. These include a decreased appetite, trouble sleeping, an upset stomach, and headaches. But one of the lesser known symptoms is a case of hives.

If your child breaks out in hives, you’ll want to go through a mental checklist of common reasons, such as recent illnesses, hot days outdoors, or a vigorous day of sports. The best way to discover if stress is a factor is to eliminate the more obvious causes. If none of the obvious sources are reasonable then stress could be the culprit.

Because young children can’t yet express themselves adequately when it comes to medical issues, depending on the age of your child we may rely on you for some context so we can determine what started the rash.

Does stress directly cause hives?

Researchers are still trying to figure out the exact connection between stress and hives. One thing most agree on is that stress — especially the adrenaline rush that stress brings on and the release of cortisol that usually follows — can flip on your body’s autoimmune response.  

That, in turn, triggers the body to break out in hives as a defense. If your child already has hives, stress can definitely accelerate the condition and cause a flare-up.

Treating stress hives

If your child’s hives are caused by an allergic reaction to things like food, insects, or drugs, an antihistamine can usually ease the symptoms. If the cause is from an illness, our team treats the primary problem, which should relieve the hives as well.

Stress-related hives often respond to the same treatment as rashes caused by other stimuli, but it’s important to see Dr. Lubega first to be certain what you’re dealing with. Once you’re sure, here are a few treatments that may bring some relief:

Usually, stress hives are short-lived and go away on their own in about 30 minutes or so. If they last longer and your at-home treatments aren’t working, call Dr. Lubega as soon as possible so she can check for other symptoms and causes.

The best treatment is prevention. If you recognize signs of stress in your child’s life, make a plan to start solving and eliminating them. If you need help, Dr. Lubega can refer you to a specialist. Give us a call today to schedule a consultation, or book an appointment online. Your child’s health is our number one concern.

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