Whether your child breaks out in hives once or once a month, seeing the swelling and irritation spread over your child’s skin can be frightening for a parent. But Dr. Lubega with the First Pediatric Care Center wants you to know there are several treatment options available for your child.
For fast relief and to stop itching, many children appreciate topical treatments. While topical antihistamines have not been shown to be effective at reducing hives, a moisturizing lotion with natural anti-itch properties such as oatmeal extract can help soothe hives.
Additionally, daily emollient cream can help strengthen skin to reduce irritation. However, when choosing a lotion, it’s important to select one without irritants that can make itching and burning worse on hives. Dr. Lubega can help recommend a lotion for your child.
Other treatment options that are effective at relieving hives are topical corticosteroids. These are steroids applied directly to the skin in small amounts. They vary in strength with weaker ones available over-the-counter and stronger options available by prescription.
While corticosteroids can provide almost immediate relief, it is important not to overuse them because they can weaken your child’s skin and cause harmful side effects.
If you are considering using topical steroids, it is important you discuss the frequency and severity of your child’s outbreaks with Dr. Lubega to determine how these drugs can be a safe part of your child’s treatment.
Although many parents prefer to treat hives topically, oral treatments are often more effective and easier to administer to young children.
The most common oral treatment for hives is an antihistamine. Antihistamines can be taken daily as a preventive measure, or can be given at the first sign of a breakout. If you have a young child, you can request liquid antihistamines while older children may take liquids or pills.
Dr. Lubega will assess the severity of your child’s hives to direct you to an appropriate strength and dosage of antihistamine to control outbreaks.
While many antihistamines are available over-the-counter, it is a good idea to bring your child into the First Pediatric Care Center for an evaluation to ensure you are giving them the most effective and safe antihistamine for their needs.
In severe cases, hives may need to be treated with oral steroids. However, this course of treatment is often tried only after strong oral antihistamines have failed.
If your child has chronic, severe hives, they may need an injection of antihistamine to control the hives. Alternatively, Omalizumab has been approved for use in children over twelve years old for treatment of chronic, severe hives and has shown promising results.
If the hives result in breathing problems, Dr. Lubega may prescribe an EpiPen for your child to carry in case of a severe outbreak. It is important that you and your child learn how to administer an EpiPen if it is determined they need one.
Finding the source and eliminating hives
While managing hives is important, the best treatment option is to determine what is causing the hives and eliminate the source. Hives have many causes from skin irritants such as detergents to food allergies and even stress or a lack of sleep.
Dr. Lubega can help determine the cause of your child’s hives through an interview. It can help if you keep a journal of when your child has outbreaks and possible triggers.
Most pediatric hives can be controlled through lifestyle changes as well as avoiding certain products or foods, and many children stop getting hives naturally as they grow up. If Dr. Lubega cannot determine the cause of the hives, or if the hives are severe and frequent, she will likely refer you to an allergist for further testing and assessment and more intensive treatment.
If your child suffers from hives, make an appointment with Dr. Lubega online or by phone to seek treatment.