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Urticaria - Hives (Children)

What Is Urticaria

Examples of urticaria (hives)

Urticaria, commonly known as hives, manifests as itchy rashes characterised by redness and skin swelling, often resembling mosquito bites of varying sizes.

When hives occur around loose tissue, such as the eyes or lips, leading to swelling in these areas, the condition is known as angioedema.


Angioedema - Lip
Angioedema - Eye
Examples of angioedema

Urticaria can be categorised into acute and chronic. Acute urticaria, the most common form in children, lasts less than six weeks, with fluctuations in size and location of the rashes. Chronic urticaria persists for over six weeks and is seen in both children and adults.

Although common, with up to 20% of people experiencing it at some point in their lives.1, the cause of chronic urticaria often remains unidentified, usually resolving over time—six months for most cases.

Source: 1American Family Physician

Causes of Urticaria

Acute urticaria is most commonly triggered viral infections and can also arise from food or drug allergies. Physical factors like cold, pressure, sweat or sunlight are rare causes.

Diagnosis And Treatment Options For Urticaria

Typically, tests are not required, but some children might require skin or blood tests if a trigger or underlying illness is suspected.

Antihistamines are the preferred treatment, aimed at alleviating itchiness. Non-sedating antihistamines are first-line medications, reducing the number and frequency of urticarial flare-ups. Sedating antihistamines, useful at bedtime, may cause drowsiness; they are often combined with a non-sedating type during the day. Steroids like prednisolone are generally not recommended.

Consult a doctor for an accurate diagnosis before starting any medication.
Tips For Taking Care Of Children With Urticaria

Seek immediate medical attention for your child if:

  • The hives are painful or persistent.
  • The urticaria is accompanied by throat swelling or breathing difficulties.
  • There is a loss of consciousness.
  • You suspect a specific trigger and wish to confirm it through tests.
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