Chronic hives are long-lasting raised, red, and itchy patches of skin. Hives usually have red borders and pale centers. They range in size from ¼ inch to 3 inches or more across. They may seem to move from place to place on the skin. Several hives may join to form a large area of raised, red skin.
When hives and swelling last more than 6 weeks even with treatment, they are called chronic.
Hives may occur with swelling under the skin. But your child may have swelling without hives. Swelling may hurt a bit, but it does not usually itch like hives.
Your child cannot spread hives to other people.
Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.
How can you care for your child at home?
- Avoid whatever you think may have caused your child's hives, such as a certain food or medicine. But you may not know the cause.
- Put a cool, wet towel on the area to relieve itching.
- Ask the doctor about giving your child a nondrowsy antihistamine, such as loratadine (Claritin), to reduce itching. Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
- Your doctor may prescribe a shot of epinephrine to carry with you in case your child has a severe reaction. Learn how to give your child the shot, and keep it with you at all times. Make sure it has not expired. If your child is old enough, teach your child how to give the shot.
- If your doctor prescribes another medicine, give it to your child exactly as directed.
When should you call for help?
Give an epinephrine shot if:
- You think your child is having a severe allergic reaction.
After giving an epinephrine shot call 911, even if your child feels better.
Call 911 if:
- Your child has symptoms of a severe allergic reaction. These may include:
- Sudden raised, red areas (hives) all over their body.
- Swelling of the throat, mouth, lips, or tongue.
- Trouble breathing.
- Passing out (losing consciousness). Or your child may feel very lightheaded or suddenly feel weak, confused, or restless.
- Severe belly pain, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
- Your child has been given an epinephrine shot, even if your child feels better.
Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:
- Your child's hives get worse.
- Your child has mild belly pain or nausea.
Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:
- Your child does not get better as expected.
Where can you learn more?
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