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How to Treat Hives in Children

Updated on February 28, 2013

Hives (also known as welts or wheals) are skin rashes that appear raised and red. They often resemble insect bites. They typically occur as a result of an allergic reaction to medications, food, an insect bite, a viral infection or exposure to some type of irritant. Thankfully, they are not contagious and usually fade away in a matter of hours. In many cases, however, hives can be quite uncomfortable and treatment is necessary to ease this discomfort.

Common Symptoms of Hives

Some common symptoms of hives that appear in children include:

  • a burning, itching, or stinging sensation.
  • welts or raised red areas on the skin. These may be localized or all over the body.
  • welts or lesions may occur in various sizes on the body
  • Pain may also be present in lesions if the skin is tensed.
  • several smaller welts may appear to form one large welt

Tips for Treating Hives

Hives are generally quite harmless and no cause for panic. If it is not a severe case and no treatment is given, they will eventually disappear on their own. If the condition is severe or if the allergic reaction is accompanied by other symptoms (such as respitory distress) seek medical attention.

Depending on the severity and the location of the outbreak, they can typically be treated through the use of over the counter medications. Benadryl is the standard over the counter treatment for hives in children. As allergic reactions can proceed rather quickly, Benadryl should be given at the first sign of hives. The sooner the Benadryl is given, the less harsh the allergic reaction is likely to be. In addition to the use of Benadryl, here are some other remedies to speed relief if your child should suffer from hives.

  1. For hives that appear across a large area on the child's skin, soak her/him in a lukewarm bath. Addi oatmeal or tea tree oil to help reduce redness and itching that often accompanies hives.
  2. Applying a topical ointment or soothing gel may be helpful when there is severe itching from the hives. Products which contain aloe vera are said to be most effective. This will reduce the itching.
  3. Corticosteroid cream may be used in severe cases, however, there are side effects associated with its use. Consult a physician.
  4. Applying over the counter hydrocortisone may also be an effective way to relieve itching caused by hives.
  5. Applying ice to the affected area will help reduce any swelling as well as ease itching. A cold pack or even a cold bath may be a useful way to get relief.
  6. Avoid tight fitting clothes, hot showers or baths. These can actually irritate the skin further and worsen the hives.
  7. A physician may prescribe steroids that can be given orally or injected in order to stop inflammation and swelling.
  8. If the cause of the hives is unknown, consult a medial professional.

Any child suffering from hives should be monitored closely. Check for worsening effects and or increased swelling. Watch for swelling of the face and the tongue. Make sure your child is breathing properly at all times. Any wheezing, paleness, or vomiting mean an immediate trip to the emergency room.


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