Many people may not know that hives is usually caused by an allergic reaction to something. Unfortunately, it is difficult to know what is causing it. As a parent, you may have some idea as to the cause if a child has had the hives many times. This is when you can come to some conclusion if he/she reacts to certain foods, but if it appears for apparently no reason, even doctors cannot know the cause of the hives.
According to Kaiser Permanente Healthwise Handbook, hives are raised, red, itchy patches of skin welts that may appear and disappear at random. They range in size from less than a quarter -inch to an inch or more, and they may last a few minutes or a few days.
Multiple hives often occur in response to a drug, food, or infection. A single hive usually develops after an insect bite. Certain cosmetics are also known to cause hives.
It is not always foods, as sometimes suspected, that can cause hives. Surprisingly, children can get hives over some emotional tension.
It may help parents to know some of the most common causes for hives. According to “Taking Care of Your Child,” by Robert Pantell, M.D., the most common causes are: certain drugs, eggs, milk, wheat, chocolate, pork, pollens, shellfish, freshwater fish, berries, cheese, nuts, pollens and insect bites.
Allergic reaction to any of the above can cause more than hives. Certain foods or pollens can cause problems with breathing or circulation. This is when it is very important to be aware of what is causing this problem.
If hives occur several times in a child’s life, it is important to try to figure out what is causing it. Be aware as to what the child ate before he/she had this problem. Do they appear after meals? After exposure to cold weather? Does it happen during a certain season of the year? Cold weather has been known to cause hives.
Dr. Pantell says, “If a child is allergic to foods, the best way to decide which food is causing the allergy is to give the child only lamb and rice for awhile. ” These foods very seldom cause an allergic re-action, he states. He says to gradually add other foods to the diet until it is discovered which of the added foods are causing the problem.
It is reported in “Taking Care of Your Child,” Itching can be relieved by applying cold compresses. Oatmeal baths, calamine lotion, aspirin, or antihistamines are also known to help.
As an experienced mother regarding allergies, it is wise to go to a doctor if a child has difficulty breathing or becomes dizzy. Injections of adrenalin or other drugs may be given. Adrenaline injections is used to relieve swelling and itching.
Source: “Taking Care of Your Child” by Robert Pantell, M.D., James Fries, M.D. and Donald Vickery, M.D.
Kaiser Permanente Healthwise Handbook