Rashes are a part of childhood. Some children and babies are more prone to developing rashes, such as hives, than others are. If you notice your baby’s skin turning red or raised areas appearing all over his body, don’t panic. In most cases, hives will clear up on their own and won’t cause any serious harm.
Hives typically appear on the stomach and back of an infant, though they can also show up on the baby’s legs, arms and face. They are usually red in color, though some are both white and red. Hives look like welts because they are raised. They can range in shape from perfect circles to ovals to uneven blobs. Some babies will have several welts all over their bodies, while others may have a single large hive. Hives may appear on a baby’s skin and then fade quickly, only to show up in another area. Most hives itch and burn.
Reasons for Hives
Babies can get hives for a number of reasons. A common cause is an allergic reaction to something, be it a food your baby ate, an airborne allergen or bee sting or bug bite. An allergic reaction to certain medication can also lead to hives, as can a sudden change in temperature. When hives are caused by allergies, the body releases histamine, according to the Mayo Clinic, which leads to the formation of hives. Some infants may get hives when they are getting over a cold or flu.
If your baby does not seem to be bothered by his hives, you may not need to treat them. If the rash causes him pain and discomfort, try giving him a cool bath to soothe the skin. The bath will also rinse away any allergens, according to Baby Center. Check with your doctor before giving him an antihistamine to reduce the hives or before applying any anti-itch cream to the rash. Since tight clothing can make hives worse, dress your baby in loose fitting, non-scratchy clothes.
In some cases, a case of hives can be part of a more severe allergic reaction. If you otice your baby is struggling to breathe or is wheezing, you should take him to the hospital immediately. Hives can cause swelling in the throat that can prevent a baby from breathing. Sometimes, a baby can go into anaphylatic shock, which is potentially fatal if not treated right away.
Keeping Hives Away
The best way to keep hives away is to help your baby avoid the things that trigger the rash. If you suspect an allergy to a certain food is causing the hives, don’t feed your child that food and see if they stop occurring. You can also try keeping him away from other known allergens, such as pets. Your doctor can perform allergy tests that can determine the specific cause of the hives.