It’s common to see hives on baby’s skin during their first few months. But what can you do about them? Find out here.
Noticed hives on your baby? Try not to worry, mama.
That lovely soft skin is easily irritated, so seeing some redness, a rash, or hives during their first few months is pretty common.
But what if your little one seems uncomfortable?
Is there anything you can do to treat baby or newborn hives?
And are hives ever a sign of something more serious?
We’ve got all the info right here.
In this article: 📝
- What are baby hives?
- What do hives on an infant look like?
- Why would a baby get hives?
- How long do baby hives last?
- When should you see your healthcare provider about baby hives?
- How to treat hives on your baby
What are baby hives?
Baby hives (or “urticaria” in medical speak) are raised reddish bumps on your baby’s skin.
They can look like little bug bites or large blotches.
Hives happen when your baby’s immune system reacts to something it sees as a potential threat
It swings into action, releasing a chemical called histamine into their bloodstream, which causes the blood vessels to expand and leak fluid.
That’s what leads to the skin looking blotchy and inflamed.
Sometimes (but not always), hives can be itchy and uncomfortable or cause a kind of burning sensation on the skin.
And occasionally, they might appear alongside other symptoms, such as vomiting or abdominal pain.
Hives can pop up quite suddenly, which is understandably alarming when your baby’s skin was perfectly smooth a few minutes ago!
But in many cases, they will disappear again as quickly as they came, without needing treatment.
What do hives on an infant look like?
So, what do hives look like on a baby?
You’ll usually see raised red or pink bumps or patches on their skin, which are white towards the center.
These bumps can vary quite a lot in size, from around half an inch to a few inches wide.
The patches often cluster together but may also be more spread out.
They can be anywhere on the body.
So it’s common to see baby hives on the face, arms, legs, belly, and genitals.
You might also notice the hives come and go over several hours or days, and they can change shape and size.
Basically, they just find it boring to stay the same for too long!
Why would a baby get hives?
As we found out earlier, hives on your baby appear when their immune system responds to something it thinks might be harmful by releasing histamine.
Common culprits behind baby hives include:
An allergic reaction happens when your baby’s immune system wrongly identifies something harmless as threatening your baby’s health.
Common causes of allergic reactions are:
- Pet dander
- Certain foods, such as nuts, milk, eggs, or shellfish
- Insect bites and stings
- Medications, such as ibuprofen or antibiotics
Hives can appear just minutes after contact with whatever caused the reaction.
So to identify the culprit, it can help to remember what your baby was doing before the hives arrived.
You might be able to track down the allergen and help your baby avoid it in the future.
A bacterial infection, such as strep throat or a urinary tract infection (UTI), can cause hives on your baby.
As can a viral infection, such as a cold.
If an infection is at the heart of it, you’re likely to spot other symptoms too.
For example, a viral infection might also cause a fever, vomiting, or diarrhea.
Baby hives can also happen if your baby’s skin has come into contact with something that irritated it.
That could be a particular laundry detergent, food, plant, or skincare product.
Or it might be because they’ve been lying in the same position for a while, putting pressure on their skin.
If you spot hives on your baby in just one area of their body, it’s quite likely that skin irritation is to blame.
And, as with an allergy, you can try to work out what may have caused it.
Getting too hot or cold
Sometimes, simply being too hot or too cold can lead to baby hives.
As can being out in the sun for too long.
Changing up their environment and/or their clothes might be just the ticket.
How long do baby hives last?
Baby hives can last anywhere between a few hours and a few weeks—sometimes longer.
Hives that last no longer than a few weeks (though they may come and go during that time) are known as “acute” hives.
But if they last longer than six weeks, they’re known as “chronic” hives.
How long do viral hives last in babies?
Hives caused by a viral infection are more likely to be acute hives, disappearing in just a few days.
When should you see your healthcare provider about baby hives?
Chat to your healthcare provider if you’re at all concerned about your baby’s hives, especially if they’ve had them for longer than six weeks or if they have any other symptoms.
Your healthcare provider might suggest carrying out tests to get to the root cause of the hives.
Important: Call 911 or go to the emergency room if your baby has hives and any of the following symptoms:
- Difficulty breathing or swallowing
- Fainting or dizziness
- Swelling around the lips or tongue
This could mean that your baby is experiencing anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction.
It’s a life-threatening condition, so it’s essential to get treatment straight away.
How to treat hives on your baby
If you’re wondering how to get rid of hives on your baby, there’s good news!
Often, baby hives will go away on their own without treatment.
But if the hives keep coming back, try to work out what could be causing them.
Making a note of when they appear might help.
If you can pinpoint the allergen or irritant behind the hives, you can try to keep your baby away from it in the future.
In over 30% of cases, though, it’s just not possible to work out what caused the hives.
Home remedies for baby hives
You can try these home remedies to make your baby more comfortable if their hives are itchy:
- A cold compress
- Calamine lotion
- A soothing oatmeal bath
- Baby mittens to prevent your baby from scratching their skin
- Loose clothing made of natural fabric to keep them cool
Medication for baby hives
Your healthcare provider might recommend an antihistamine medication for hives that keep coming back or are making your baby really uncomfortable.
But these should only be used under your doctor’s supervision, as they’re not approved for treating children under age two.
Remember: If you see any signs of anaphylaxis in your baby, call 911 or head to the emergency room right away, as they may need urgent medical treatment.
Caring for a baby who is unwell isn’t always easy.
If you need support and a listening ear, remember that the other mamas in the Peanut community are here for you.
We hope your little one is better very soon. ❤️
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