Hives in Babies- Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

A baby with rashes on the arm

If you see your baby developing a rash on his body, your baby may be suffering from hives. As a parent, it is natural for you to get worried and even panic. There are many reasons that may cause hives in babies and children. Read about hives, its symptoms, causes and what measures of treatment you can adopt to cure this skin condition in your baby.

What is Hives in Infants?

A baby with rashes on the cheeks

Hives or urticaria is a skin condition that can be characterized by small red bumps on the skin. These bumps can be on a particular part of the body or may even spread across the entire body. Hives may disappear in a few hours or in some cases after a few days. There are many reasons that may cause hives in babies. The following article will help you to know more about hives newborn.

How Common Is It?

Approximately 20 percent people may suffer from hives at some point of time in their lives.

What are the Causes of Baby Hives?

There are many reasons that may cause hives in babies. Some of these reasons are listed below:

  1. Insect bites or stings may cause hives.
  2. Allergic reaction to foods like eggs, nuts milk or shellfish, may cause hives.
  3. Excessive exposure to cold weather or sun.
  4. Allergic reaction to certain medicines such as Penicillin, Sulphonamide etc.
  5. Allergy is resulting from pollens of plants.
  6. Vigorous scratching or excessive sweating of the skin.
  7. Allergy because of pets in the house.
  8. Allergy because of certain creams and lotions.
  9. Hives may even result from infections like a common cold.

What are the Signs of Hives in a Young Child?

If you are wondering whether or not your baby has hives, the following signs and symptoms may help you establish the same:

  1. Occurrence Of Welts: The most common and easy to spot a sign of hives is the appearance of welts on the skin. The welts are small red bumps on the skin that looks like a mosquito bite. These may be seen at several places in the body.
  2. Wheals On The Skin: Hives cause pinkish or reddish tinge broad bumps on the surface of the skin that are called wheals. The wheals are mostly seen on the face, neck, back and legs.
  3. Changing Shapes Of Welts And Wheels: These welts and wheals on the body may keep changing shape.
  4. Changing Location: Apart from changing shapes and sizes, these welts and wheals may even change the location also. They may appear and disappear randomly.
  5. Cranky Baby: If your baby is suffering from hives, he may appear to be fussier and crankier than usual. This is because of the itching that may cause extreme discomfort to the baby.

How Does An Allergy Trigger Hives in Infants?

As soon as a baby comes in contact with an allergen, the body reacts immediately by releasing histamine. Histamine is released by the mast cells in the bloodstream, and when it gets accumulated under the skin, it starts leaking from the blood vessels. The released and accumulated fluid forms puddles under the skin that gets transformed into rashes of various shapes and sizes. Histamine flows through the bloodstream, and this is why it may appear and disappear from various parts of the skin. This may continue till the histamine clears up from the bloodstream, this may depend on the severity of allergy and the amount of histamine caused due to it.

How is Hives Diagnosed in Babies?

If you suspect hives in your baby, it is advised that you immediately take your baby to the doctor. Firstly the doctor will examine the physical symptoms of your baby thoroughly. Your doctor may ask you about baby’s health records, any allergies and his lifestyle. If your doctor suspects the presence of pathogens, a blood test for the same may be suggested. In order to reach the final diagnosis, your doctor will assess the physical symptoms and the tests results. After the diagnosis is complete, your doctor will prescribe the best-suited treatment option for your baby.

Does Hives Cause Any Complications in Babies?

In most cases, hives do not cause serious complications and may get better within a few hours or a few days. However, sometimes severe allergic reactions may get caused.

  • An allergic reaction after an insect bite or sting.
  • If the home remedial measures are not helping in improving the symptoms.
  • If your baby develops wheezing.
  • If your baby has nausea or vomiting.
  • If your baby heart rate is rising
  • If you notice swelling on the eyes or eyes along with the hives and your baby has difficulty in breathing properly.
  • If your baby’s skin becomes clammy and cold.
  • If the skin rash becomes severe and itches more.
  • If you notice your baby’s symptoms getting worse.

If any of the above-mentioned symptoms are noticed, it is advised that you take immediate action and get in touch with your doctor. With timely and proper medical intervention any kind of complication can be dealt with.

How is Hives Treated?

In most cases of hives, no medical intervention is required as the symptoms subside of its own. However, your doctor may prescribe medication to reduce the symptoms and also treat the underlying cause that may have caused hives in the first place. Following are the options for the treatment for hives in babies:

  • The most common medicine that your doctor may prescribe for your baby is the antihistamine. This medicine helps in reducing the redness, itching and swelling but it does not cure the ailment. This medicine does not make your baby groggy and is extremely safe to be administered to the child. These can be easily procured from any pharmacy, but it is recommended that you consult a paediatrician first.
  • In most severe cases of hives, your doctor may recommend the use of steroids. These kinds of medicines are usually avoided due to their probable side effects. However, if your baby does not respond to antihistamine or the symptoms become severe, steroids may be used to reduce the symptoms.
  • Your doctor may prescribe anti-viral or anti-biotic medicine to your baby. However, these medicines do not cure hives, but they may help in curing the underlying cause of hives.

Though the above-mentioned remedies help in reducing the symptoms of hives in an effective manner, you may also adopt certain home remedial measures to treat hives in babies.

Home Remedies for Hives in Babies

We shall acquaint you with effective and easy to use home remedial measures that you can utilise to bring down the symptoms of hives in babies and young children. All these remedies have been in use for a long time and may show improvement in reducing your baby’s symptoms too. Some of these remedies are as follows:

1. Cold Compressions :

You may take cold water (not icy cold) and dip any soft cotton or muslin cloth in it and dab at the sight of the rash. Cold compression instantly helps in reducing itching and redness caused due to hives.

2. Cold Water Baths :

You can bath your baby with the cold water. However, it is suggested that do not use very cold water as it may make your baby extremely uncomfortable and give your baby chills. Cold water baths help in washing away the allergens and also reducing the itching. Refrain from using fancy fragrant soap; instead, use any mild baby soap. Gently dry your baby with a soft towel, and you may apply any mild baby cream to soothe your baby’s skin.

3. Make Your Baby Wear Comfortable Clothes :

Dress your baby in loose cotton clothes. Cotton is soft and does not irritate the skin. The breathy loose clothes help in circulation of air making your baby feel comfortable and less cranky.

4. Keep Your Baby’s Nails Trimmed :

The itch from hives can not only make babies extremely uncomfortable, but small babies may scratch the rash and make it worse. Therefore, trimming their nails will keep them off from scratch.

5. You May Use Anti-Itch Ointment :

There are many over-the-counter anti-itch ointments available in the market. You may use any to reduce itching and redness on your baby’s skin. It is recommended that you should use the lotions or creams as per the instruction and refrain from using more than the recommended limits. Calamine lotion also works well in reducing the symptoms. Though the best option is to consult your paediatrician.

How can you Prevent your Baby from Getting Hives?

The following may help you to prevent hives in babies:

1. Protect Your Baby from Infections :

Maintaining and practising good hygiene goes a long way in protecting your baby from harmful infections that may get caused due to pathogens. Help your baby built stronger immunity by feeding him well.

2. Keep Your Baby Neat and Tidy :

Dirt, grime or pollens attached to your baby’s clothes and skin may cause hives too. Change your baby’s clothes and clean him nicely after coming from an outdoor trip.

3. Protection from Allergens :

Keep your baby safe and away from all the possible allergens that you suspect may cause an allergic reaction and thus cause hives.

4. Keep Your Baby in Favourable Weather Conditions :

If the weather is hot and humid, keep your baby in an air-conditioned environment. If it is dry and cold, use humidifiers.

5. Do Not Use Harsh Detergents :

Harsh chemical detergents may sometimes leave residue behind that may cause a rash on your baby’s skin. Use baby safe or milder detergents to wash your baby’s clothes.