Hives is an uncomfortable condition produced by a rash made of itchy welts. Oral antihistamines like Benadryl™ are useful in interrupting the allergic reaction — providing relief from the rash and itching. More serious reactions can include swelling of the fingers, toes, lips or other parts of the body. The airway may swell and difficulty of breathing can follow. This is an emergency! Medical attention must be sought immediately. If your child has ever had a serious reaction from an insect that resulted in difficulty in breathing, please inform our office. I will be better able to advise you and respond when someone calls about your child’s allergic reaction. I may prescribe an emergency treatment kit that can be used immediately following a bite. This can be life saving!

Red, itchy, small to large reactions occurring in the skin are often of an allergic nature. Hives appear suddenly anywhere on the body. They may appear as flat, raised or ringed spots up to several inches in size. Reactions to drugs, foods or illness may cause the appearance of hives. They can last minutes or persist for weeks. I notice them more in children a strong history of allergies — asthma, hayfever or eczema. The rash of hives may occur alone or with other allergic symptoms like wheezing or general shock. Unfortunately, most cases don’t have a definitive cause.

Treatment should begin by making your child comfortable. You may apply topical creams like Calamine™, Benadryl™ or hydrocortisone. These work well as long as the rash is in a small area of the body, but with hives, the rash is wide spread. It is not practical to cover large areas of the body with creams is not practical. Over-the-counter oral antihistamines work very well to interfere with the release of histamine, the chemical causing the hives. Benadryl™ liquid or capsules provide relief for most children and adolescents. I may prescribe other medications if over-the-counter drugs don’t work. Hives persisting longer than a few days require my attention. Last reviewed 4/29/2010