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What are the Most Common Causes of Hives in Toddlers?

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  • Written By: Meshell Powell
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 15 November 2016
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Hives, also referred to as welts, are typically small, reddened areas of skin that may be raised and itchy. Hives in toddlers are relatively common and can cause great distress for the parents. Hives develop as a natural response from the immune system, but this does not always mean that the child is having an allergic reaction. Hives in toddlers may also occur due to temperature changes, sensitive skin, or fever. Treatment for hives in toddlers usually requires only treatment with a medication known as an antihistamine, although the development of severe symptoms may require immediate medical attention.

Hives in toddlers may develop any time the child is sick, especially if fever or infection is present. The immune system has not had time to fully develop in a toddler, so some immune reactions may be exaggerated as the body learns what substances are truly harmful to the body. Sensitivities to soaps or detergents may also lead to hives in toddlers. Children with particularly sensitive skin may develop hives from friction or from wearing clothes made with certain materials or fabrics.

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Food allergies or sensitivities are common causes of hives in toddlers. This is the age when the child starts to experiment with different foods, and some of these foods may not be well tolerated by the body. A special type of doctor known as a dermatologist can perform a few simple tests to determine if the child has any actual food allergies. Even if there are no allergies detected, the child may still have food sensitivities that may lead to hives. If this is suspected, the doctor may recommend an elimination diet to see if the hives stop appearing when certain foods are removed from the diet.

Diphenhydramine is a type of medication known as an antihistamine and may help to relieve some of the uncomfortable symptoms of hives, such as itching and swelling. Adding a little oatmeal to the bath water may also help to relieve some of these symptoms. In most cases, the hives will disappear on their own within a couple of days.

In rare cases, the development of hives in toddlers may indicate a severe allergic reaction to some sort of allergen, such as food, chemicals, or insect bites or stings. If the child's face begins to swell or if the child seems to be having trouble breathing, immediate medical attention is required. Such severe allergic reactions can be potentially fatal if not properly treated right away.

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anon949950
Post 5

My toddler has been getting hives on his face for the last few days. They sometimes come and go within minutes and do not bother him at all. They do not seem to be a reaction to food, as there has been no change in his diet. I'm wondering if it might be environmental? The doctor said that hives are quite common in toddlers and 50 percent of the time, a trigger is not identifiable.

It's a little frustrating not to know the reason why, but the doctor assures me there is no cause for concern unless they remain for long periods, cause mouth/throat swelling or are accompanied by a fever. I'm planning on getting a second opinion, just to be sure.

anon335577
Post 4

My 20 month old developed hives on his leg, arms and face only and later his temperature went up to 106.4. He was fine in two days after I took him to the hospital. Has anyone ever heard of this happening from an allergic reaction?

literally45
Post 3

@turkay1-- Thankfully, the allergic reactions never got that serious. We were keeping a close eye on her, she only had hives on her facial skin.

She had allergy testing done and is allergic to raspberries, among other foods like kiwi and eggs.

candyquilt
Post 2

@literally45-- That does sound like a food allergy. Did you take her to the hospital when that happened? Because food allergies can be serious and can cause swelling in the mouth and throat, preventing breathing. You should watch out for that and definitely don't give her any raspberries.

My baby gets hives often as well. But his are due to overheating or because of clothing. If his temperature rises even a little bit, he will start developing hives. If the clothing he's wearing has a slightly rough texture, the same happens.

He can only wear 100% cotton and I have to make sure he doesn't get too hot. It's so stressful to keep an eye on everything that can cause him hives.

literally45
Post 1

I think my daughter is allergic to raspberries. Several months ago, she had fresh raspberries and broke out in hives on her face.

I wasn't sure what caused it but didn't give her any more raspberries until today. Today, she had a mixed berry yogurt which includes raspberries and again broke out in a rash.

I've made an appointment with her doctor to see if we can get a food allergy test for her, but I'm almost certain that she has allergies to raspberries.

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