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Home > Events & Health Information > Diseases & Conditions > Skin Conditions > Urticaria (Hives)

Urticaria (Hives)

About The Condition   Causes
Diagnosis And Treatment Options   Tips


What Is Urticaria

Examples of urticaria (hives)


Urticaria, commonly known as hives, are itchy rashes characterised by redness and swelling of the skin. These rashes may resemble mosquito bites of varying size.


When rashes develop around loose tissue such as the eyes or lips, the affected area may swell too. This reaction is called angioedema.


Examples of angioedema


Urticaria can be categorised into acute and chronic. Acute urticaria is the most frequent type of urticaria seen in children and each episode lasts for less than 6 weeks. During this period, the urticaria may increase and decrease in size and travel to different areas of the body. Chronic urticaria lasts for more than 6 weeks.


Urticaria is common and up to 20% of people will develop an episode during their lifetime1.


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Causes of Urticaria

The most common cause of acute urticaria is viral infection. Urticaria may also appear due to food or drug allergy. It is rarely related to physical agents (cold, pressure, sweat or sunlight).


Chronic urticaria can occur in both children and adults. The cause cannot be identified in the majority of the cases. Rarely, it may occur when the body’s immune system is reacting against itself. Chronic urticaria usually resolves over time: in 6 months for most cases.


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Diagnosis And Treatment Options For Urticaria

Tests are usually not required. However, some children may require skin or blood tests if there is a suspicion of a trigger or an underlying illness.


Antihistamines are the treatment of choice for urticaria and are used to relieve the itch.


Non-sedating antihistamines are first-line medicines and can decrease the number of urticarial lesions, the frequency of flare ups and diminish itchiness. Sedating antihistamines can also be used. However, they can cause sleepiness and loss of alertness. They are useful at bedtime especially when combined with a non-sedating antihistamine during the day.


Prednisolone (steroids) are usually not indicated.


Please consult a doctor for a proper diagnosis before administering medication.


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Tips For Taking Care Of Children With Urticaria

Bring your child to see a doctor immediately if:

  • The urticaria is painful or does not fade.
  • The urticaria is associated with swelling of the throat or difficulty in breathing.
  • There is a loss of consciousness.
  • You suspect a specific trigger and want to perform tests to confirm it.


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Our Team

We have a team of paediatricians and paediatric nurses specialising in allergy and immunology. We are dedicated to delivering comprehensive and accurate diagnosis and management for all allergic conditions and immune deficiencies in children.


Click here to find out more about our Paediatric Allergy and Immunology team.


Source: 1American Family Physician


The information provided on this page is meant purely for educational purposes and may not be used as a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment. You should seek the advice of your doctor or a qualified healthcare provider before starting any treatment or if you have any questions related to your child’s health, physical fitness or medical conditions.