Hives are dermatological lesions that are characterized by red, itchy, slightly elevated blotches on the skin. Hives also referred to as urticaria, can range from a few millimeters to several centimeters in size. These patches can appear on any part of the skin and may last from a few minutes to several days. If these hives persist for more than a month, they are referred to as chronic hives.
Epidemiological estimates suggest that hives can affect almost 3% of preschool toddlers and about 2% of older children between the age group of 6 to 14 years. Hives are associated with elevated levels of histamine, which is produced in response to an irritant (or an allergen), which affects the permeability of blood vessels. This in turn causes fluid to leak out from the blood vessels and accumulate under the skin, resulting in formation of red elevated blotches.
What Causes Hives In Toddlers?
Hives are usually linked with certain irritant or allergen, which acts as a trigger to increase the production of histamine. Some of the causative factors include,
- Allergy to foods like shellfish, eggs, nuts, dairy products or berries.
- Mosquito or insect bites can also trigger formation of hives.
- Viral or bacterial infections can also cause formation of hives.
- Sudden exposure to cold water or blast of cold air.
- Presence of parasites/worms in the intestine can also trigger formation of hives.
Any form of physical or mental stress to toddlers can also result in formation of hives on the skin.
Symptoms Of Hives In Toddlers
The hallmark symptom of hives is the presence of red, raised, blotches on the skin which may vary in size and usually associated with severe itching. These blotches may ooze which is associated with excessive scratching. In addition there are certain other symptoms that may be present,
- Severe itching may be associated with irritability and restlessness.
- Edema and puffiness of hands, feet, throat and genitals may be observed in some cases.
- In severe cases, the toddler may find it difficult to breathe along with throat and neck congestion.
- Hives may also be associated with gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea and vomiting.
- In advanced and severe form of reactions, anaphylactic shock may occur, which can be a life threatening condition. This condition is associated with rapid drop in blood pressure, dizziness, difficulty to breathe and loss of consciousness.
Home Remedies For Hives In Toddlers
The treatment regimen usually follows a two prong approach. The first is to identify the allergen and avoid it in future and the second is to treat the symptoms associated with the formation of hives. There are certain home remedies and natural treatment options that can help alleviate the symptoms associated with hives,
- Soak a cotton ball in the milk of magnesia and apply it on the hives. Alkaline properties of milk of magnesia can help alleviate the symptoms of pain and reduce swelling.
- Lukewarm water bath with cornstarch can have a soothing effect on the skin and alleviate itching.
- Add a few drops of grapefruit oil in a bowl of water and apply it on to the skin. This helps reduce itching and also hastens the healing process.
- Peppermint and chamomile tea can help reduce mental stress that may be linked with the onset of the hives. Allowing toddlers to have chamomile tea helps them cope with the stress and reducing irritability.