Causes of Hives and Treatment for Children

Hives are raised, red welts that can be pale at the center, appear in clusters, change shape, appear on different parts of the body or itch, sting or burn. When you notice these on your child, your first instinct might be to worry, but there are many common causes that can be avoided and reliable treatment options.

Hives often clear up on their own in a few days, but you can take steps to avoid future outbreaks if you know what triggered your child’s hives!

Of course, if you notice that they are worsening or spreading or if there looks to be an infection, you will want to call your child’s provider as soon as possible.


  • Some food (especially peanuts, eggs, nuts and shellfish)
  • Medications, such as antibiotics (especially penicillin and sulfa), aspirin and ibuprofen
  • Insect stings or bites
  • Physical stimuli, such as pressure, cold, heat, exercise or sun exposure
  • Airborne allergens like tree and grass pollen, mold spores and pet dander
  • Allergies to other materials, like latex or detergents
  • Recent viral infection
  • Sometimes we cannot identify a cause

This is not an exhaustive list. Causes of hives vary, so if you are unsure of what may have caused them, you should talk to your child’s provider.



Benadryl, one of the commonly used antihistamines is available over-the-counter. It will not clear up the hives immediately, but it will reduce the itching. Follow the directions located on the bottle for the proper dosage for your child’s age and weight.

Calamine or Caladryl

This lotion can help relieve itching by providing a cooling sensation when applied directly to the hives.

A Cool Bath or Shower

A cool bath or shower will reduce the swelling associated with hives. A cold compress will have the same effect and provide instant relief.

Loose-Fitting Clothing

Sweatpants, athletic pants and loose-fitting shirts will be more comfortable for your child because the material will not be rubbing against the area with their hives. We recommend cotton as it is the softest and will help prevent further irritation!

Of course, if you notice signs of more significant allergic reaction (vomiting, swelling, problems breathing),   if the hives are worsening or spreading, or if there looks to be an infection, call your child’s provider as soon as possible.

If you have any more questions about causes, are concerned about a possible allergic trigger, or treatment or prevention of hives, we recommend scheduling an appointment with your provider by calling 9704822515!

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