Technical Names: Urticaria, Angioedema
Nicknames: Hives, welts
(from Pediatric Physical Diagnosis Electronic Atlast, Zitelli and Davis)
What are hives? Raised, red, itchy lesions on the skin that often come and go and can coalesce together in to larger, red, itchy areas. Unlike other rashes, these come and go and move about the skin.
What Causes hives? Hives occur from allergic reactions. These can be to medications but more commonly to something in the environment or a virus. In most situations of hives, we never determine the actual cause.
Some hives are caused by physical changes in body temperature such as exposure to cold, heat or extreme exercise. Some people get hives when they are nervous. Bug bites can cause hives and so can the sun.
Hives occur because the allergen, the thing we are allergic to, triggers the release of chemicals in our cells. These chemicals, histamines, cause the hives and itchiness.
How long do hives last?
Hives can come and go for days to weeks.
- antihistamines: over the counter benadryl or claritin; prescriptions
- antiitchy lotions such as Avreno, Sarna, Calamine
When to Call Your Doctor
- hives associates with drooling or trouble breathing
- hives associated with ingesting food
- hives associated with red eyes or swollen joints
- hives associated with fever
All these symptoms may mean a more serious allergic reaction is occuring – call your pediatrician or 911.
Internet Resources for Parents
Internet Resources for Teens and Kids