Causes of hives on a baby
Hives are one of the reactions of the body to an allergic or inflammatory response. They release the chemical histamine when mast cells feel something irritating. That causes leakage of blood vessels under the skin, creating those red bumps that are telltale.
The tricky thing is that hives on babies can be caused by many irritants and look like symptoms of many other diseases, such as eczema symptoms.
Some of the causes that are most famous include:
- Foods, especially allergens such as peanuts, tree nuts, milk, shellfish or sesame, egg whites, as well as fruit
- Some allergens, like pollen or domestic animals
- Infections by viruses
- Over-the-counter or treatment on prescription
- Bee stings or the bites of insects
- Sun exposure or cold
- Contact with chemicals
Remedies for hives
Since they have so many common causes, it is not always easy to find out the culprit behind your baby’s hives. (Almost half of the cases have no known cause, in fact.) One hint that can help? After a few minutes to a couple of hours after exposure to the offending irritant, hives begin to form.
Thinking about what he has recently been exposed to when your baby gets them will give you an idea of where the hives come from.
For hives that continue to show up, keeping a record of your baby’s symptoms will also help you discover the cause.
- Cool compresses. To relieve itching and pain, soak a washcloth in cool water and apply it directly to the hives.
- A lukewarm bath with oatmeal. To relieve itching, sprinkle colloidal oatmeal into your child’s tub, but keep bathing for 10 minutes or less.
- Put on baby mittens or cut your baby’s nails. Both may help stop scratching, which causes inflammation in the hives.
- Comfortable clothes. Loose cotton duds are less likely than outfits that are tight-fitting or itchy to irritate hives.
- Exposure to minimal heat or cold. Try to stay away from the sun and use air conditioning if your child is sensitive to the heat. Use a humidifier inside and dress it in warm layers when you go out if cold air seems to be a concern.
What should be done about baby hives on the face?
Hives on the face of your baby may look especially worrisome. However, as long as they are not followed by swelling of the lip or mouth, you should treat them like hives that occur on other body parts. But if you feel any swelling around your lips or mouth, you should call 911 right away, as this could be a sign of anaphylaxis.