why does my child keep getting hives
One itchy spot on your child s skin isnБt likely to make you speed-dial the doctor. However, if your child wakes up with red marks covering his body, or you notice blotches on his face after lunch, youБre right to worryБand want answers. What are hives? Hives, or urticaria, are red raised welts on the skin. Individual hives may look like, but in large numbers, can resemble a rash. Fotini Kavadas, paediatric clinical immunologist and allergist at Alberta ChildrenБs Hospital in Calgary, explains that hives occur when allergy cells in our body are attacked and release allergic chemicals called histamines. Hives can last for minutes, several hours or, in the case of chronic urticaria, can come and go for six weeks or more. They are typically itchy, but can also burn or sting. Hives have myriad causes, including
to food, medicine, animals, dyes or perfumes; physical forces, such as the skin being pressed or scratched; and viral infections (even the ). Heat, cold and emotional distress can also trigger hives, as Cari Mistry of Orangeville, Ont. , knows all too well. БI have a five-year-old son who, since the age of two, has gotten hives from being upset,Б she says. БIf heБs crying wildly, heБll break out on his face and torso. Б Sometimes there is a clear cause, but in other cases, figuring out why a child is getting hives can be extremely frustrating for parents.
It took several years of hospital visits, medical specialists and allergy testing before Jenn Hatton, of Regina, Sask. , was told that dyes in medications and fish were among the triggers of hives outbreaks in both her son and daughter. What can you do? Before you see a doctor, Kavadas recommends documenting what your child was doing before the hives appeared. What did she eat? Have you changed shampoo or laundry detergent? Do you have a? БHives typically go away once the allergen is removed,Б explains Kavadas, Бbut antihistamines can be used to alleviate symptoms. Б She cautions against over-the-counter antihistamines that cause kids to become drowsy: БSleepiness is an indicator of a severe allergy, so these antihistamines can mask a more serious issue. Б Try a non-sedating product instead. Want to avoid medication entirely? and aloe vera or calamine lotion help with itching, though they donБt get rid of the hives. PreventionБidentifying and removing the irritantБis ultimately the best medicine. As Mistry says, БNow that we know crying causes my sonБs hives, we БtreatБ them by helping him calm down. Б If your child is wheezing, sleepy, or his lips or eyes are swelling, call 9-1-1, as this may indicate an allergic reaction. БLet a medical professional make the decision about how severe things are,Б says allergist Fotini Kavadas.
A physician can prescribe an epinephrine auto-injector (EpiPen), which is an effective way of reversing a reaction. My daughter has had hives covering her body on and off for several months. The doctor said that hives usually last for a couple of weeks to a few months. My daughter has never had any allergies to food or anything else. What could have caused this, and what is the most effective treatment for hives? Б Laurie, Florida Hives (known in the medical community as urticaria) are very itchy spots, pink to red, that appear on the skin, feel raised up from the surrounding skin, and then disappear without a trace (unless the person has scratched and damaged the skin). An individual hive can range from the size of a pencil eraser to the size of a dinner plate. Hives are not rare, and most people experience a brief bout of them at least once in their lives. They typically last a few days or a week and then go away as suddenly as they came. This can happen after someone has a mild infection, including everyday viruses, or in association with taking antibiotics. Hives can also be part of a more serious allergic reaction, such as a reaction to a food, medicine, or. Anyone who develops hives plus other symptoms Б such as difficulty breathing, dizziness or light-headedness, throat tightness, nausea or vomiting, or passing out Б should be seen by a health care provider immediately.
Sometimes outbreaks of hives keep happening for weeks or months, as you describe in the case of your daughter. This condition is called chronic hives, or chronic urticaria, and it's characterized by the presence of hives on most days of the week for six weeks or more. This disorder, less common than short-lived hives, affects about one in 100 people. It is very distressing to the person who has it because it is uncomfortable, unpredictable, and interferes with sleep, school, and work. However, it is almost never related to a more serious medical problem or to an. Researchers do not know with certainty what causes chronic urticaria, but there are a couple of leading theories. One is that chronic hives are caused by changes in white blood cells called basophils. Another is that some people begin to make antibodies (proteins that normally fight infections) that cause cells (mast cells) to release natural chemicals. These mast cells are in the skin, and the chemicals cause swelling in the skin around the cells, creating hives. It isnБt clear, according to this theory, what starts the process, but the good news is that the problem eventually corrects itself in most people after a period of time Б a few months to as much as a year is typical. However, a small number of unfortunate people have chronic hives for years on end. Many people with hives notice that the symptoms seem to be related to diet in some way, but testing for food allergy usually shows that a person with hives is not allergic to any food.
This is because while some foods contain natural chemicals that aggravate hives, there are so many foods that do this that avoiding enough of them to make a real difference in the symptoms would be difficult and impractical. People with hives almost always require antihistamines to control the symptoms. Antihistamines are considered the safest and most effective initial treatment. Certain antihistamines, such as cetirizine (Zyrtec), fexofenadine (Allegra), and loratadine (Claritin), cause less drowsiness and dry mouth than others, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl) and chlorpheniramine. Doctors often need to combine different types of antihistamines or double the dose of one medicine. To figure out the right medication or combination of medications for your daughter, you'll need to discuss with her doctor her age and how well she responds to the various medications. If hives are still not controlled on full doses of two or more antihistamines, many doctors will add a medicine called montelukast (Singulair) for a month or so, and some patients then improve. Every patient is different, though, and it can take weeks to find a set of medicines that work. The process can be frustrating, so be patient.
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