At least one in five adults has experienced hives. Many parents are alarmed to find their children with hives, but they really shouldn’t be too alarmed. In most cases they are acute hives, meaning they will likely go away almost as quickly as they appeared. And most likely, you will find children with hives are never able to be diagnosed as to the cause.
Most of us know the symptoms. Hives, otherwise referred to as urticaria, are those bothersome red, large, raised areas that appear on the skin in almost any part of the body and they are usually extremely itchy. They can sometimes be a bit frightening, especially the first time a person gets them.
And imagine children, with hives appearing for no reason and looking quite frightening. Young children with hives may come running to their parents crying and very scared that these large, scary splotches just came out of nowhere. The first thing you should do if this happens is to try to calm your child quickly. Anxiety and stress tend to aggravate hives and make the condition even worse, or appear in other areas. And you may need to calm yourself down as well.
What can make hives appear so quickly and without warning?
If you or your children have never had hives before, you ought to do a quick internet search for pictures of children with hives. You’ll see they can be quite intimidating in appearance. The other thing you should know that in more than half the cases, children with hives have a condition that is classified as idiopathic. This means that the cause is unknown and will never be known. If this is the first time you have seen your children with hives, and they disappear and don’t come back, you should probably just forget about it. You will just cause unnecessary anxiety for yourself and perhaps you child.
But if the hives reappear, you should know that many things can cause urticaria and in the case of children with hives, the most common cause of them is a virus. The hives are just a symptom of the body’s immune system trying to fight off an attack, either real or perceived as real by the immune system. They are caused by the release of histamine, which happens quickly, from mast cells under the skin. This release causes leakage of fluid from blood vessels, albeit small leakage, that causes the red appearance, the raised area, and the itchiness that children with hives experience.
Allergic reactions to food or medications are another frequent cause of the hives, and if this is the case, the hives will appear shortly after exposure or ingestion of the offending medicine or food. Children with hives caused by an allergic reaction to antibiotics or other medicines may not get them the first time they use the medicine. This is because an allergic reaction is the way the body reacts to something for which it has built up proteins called antibodies. And sometimes it takes being exposed several times before there are enough of the antibodies to cause the response seen as hives.
Things in the environment of children with hives could be the culprit as well. So look for possibilities like pollen, pet dander, grass or tree pollen or anything else that may also be causing the child to sneeze.
Children with hives only need to see a doctor if the condition is persistent or becomes chronic
Children with hives that last longer than six weeks or hives that come and go repeatedly for six weeks or longer are suffering from chronic hives and you will want to see a doctor to see if you can discover the cause. Chronic hives are seldom an allergic reaction and you will want to try to get to the root of it. Antihistamines are a normal treatment but if you can find the cause and remove it, you will be doing better for your child. Antihistamines are not a good long-term solution for children with hives as they can become dependent on them. A natural approach or a more holistic approach that strengthens the immune system or removes the cause is a better approach. And if the hives do have a viral cause, you’ll want to get to the bottom of that as well.