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What Are Hives (urticaria): Symptoms and Treatment

Updated: 3 days ago

Hives are really common in children. They are usually itchy and annoying but are also harmless.

As parents, we often worry about the causes of the hives but there are often no causes or triggers found. They can be triggered by many things including viruses, food, grasses, animals, bites, medication or even stress.

Our Paediatrician Expert Dr Lexi Frydenberg gives the lowdown on what you need to know about hives.

What are Hives?

Hives (urticaria) are slightly raised, red patches of skin called wheals (or welts). they occur in groups on any part of the body and can look like mosquito bites. They are often itchy, but sometimes also sting.

Hives symptoms

  • Very itchy or stinging skin

  • Can appear as a single wheel and may only last several hours before fading without a trace.

  • The wheels may also appear in batches or clusters

Hives treatment

Depending on the triggers, hives usually settle after a few hours. When there is no identifiable cause, hives will usually go away within a few days but may last weeks.

To help alleviate hives:

  • Avoiding the cause

  • Avoiding direct sunshine, heat and hot showers which can often make hives feel worse

  • Applying a cool compress (a face washer or similar soaked in cool water), can help relieve the itching and stinging.

  • Using non-drowsy, age-appropriate antihistamines (always ask your GP first)

Should I go to the doctor for hives?

If your child continues to have hives for more than six weeks, take them to see your GP.

If the hives are accompanied by:

  • Difficulty breathing and/or noisy breathing

  • Wheeze or persistent cough

  • Swelling of the tongue

  • Swelling and/or tightness in the throat

  • Difficulty talking or hoarse voice

  • Becoming pale and floppy

Then seek urgent medical assistance, this may be a sign of Anaphylaxis.

This Expert Article was written by our Paediatrican Expert Dr Lexi Frydenberg. To learn more from Dr Lexi purchase our Parents You've Got This Parenting Portal to watch expert videos and read more of Dr Lexi's expert articles. Alternatively, to elevate your parenting skills with expert tips and knowledge, secure your sport at one of our upcoming masterclasses.

Disclaimer: The information in this article is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended to substitute advice provided by your doctor or other healthcare professionals. The author of this information has made a considerable effort to ensure the information is in-line with current guidelines, codes and accepted clinical evidence at time of writing, is up-to-date at time of publication and relevant to Australian readers. The opinions and thoughts expressed in this article reflects the view of the author only and not the broader medical profession or her places of work. The author accepts no responsibility for any inaccuracies, information perceived as misleading, or the success of any treatment regimen detailed in this information.  We recommend you always consult a qualified health practitioner for individualised advice.

Young child with hives


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