29 answers

Breaking Out in Hives/welts

my 5 yr old has been breaking out in welts for the past 2 yrs off and on, i give him benedryl and they eventually go away. they usually start on his back and stay there but occasionally they venture to his arms and legs. i took him to the allergy dr once in the past and he prescribed steriods and of course it helped for a little while but it started again. they don't occur at any particular time and he hasn't taken any new medication. i would like to know if anyone else has had this problem and to get some advice. please help! i have racked my brain to figure out what is causing them but can't find anything new i have started using or changed.

What can I do next?

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My daughter has had the same problems. I have no idea what causes it. I do know if use regular detergent instead of dreft or other hypoallerginic soaps she has increased episodes. I guess some people are just more sensitive to the environment than others. good luck

The first thing I would try is switching to allergen free detergents, soaps, shampoos, etc. Maybe do a second rinse when doing his wash - including towels and sheets.

I would also switch to more green cleaning products. One great cleaning item is microfiber cloths. Just wet them down and you can clean sinks, counters, tubs, mirrors, and windows without any cleaning products at all. www.flylady.com has some nice big ones.

Then, lastly, I would pay attention to his diet. I have heard some kids break out from yellow food coloring. These things can develop over time also and kids can become sensitive to something that they weren't sensitive to before.

Good luck!

My middle son who is now 18 has had hives since he was very little...he would get out of the bath and BOOM...major hives...or just go outside on a cold day...anything really was the trigger. It was not food or allergies to anything...it is a skin disorder in which now he takes zyertec for. He can't go without it or the hives take over. Look into the skin issue...he would still be suffering if it had not been for a very wise Doctor.

M.
Jer. 29:11

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something no one else has mentioned yet...it could be his body's way of healing or ridding itself of toxins, bacteria, viruses, etc... my 13 yo has broken out in severe welts several times in his life, and almost always he has either been sick or is about to be. we just realized this recently. last year at this time, he and my dtr both got the flu and were give Tamifule to rush the symptoms along - it worked great for my dtr. my son however, broke out in itchy red welts all over, mostly trunk area. we had coincidentally switched shampoos in is bathroom (to a dollar store brand of Pert) and thought that was it. so he quit using that and was still breaking out. the doc said to take him off the Tamiflu, and his rash cleared up. took the flu longer to go away though. he got the flu again two weeks ago, and the doc said obviously no Tamiflu this year. but towards the end of the week, while still sick, he broke out in horrible welts AGAIN! i called the doc - they checked his past records and noticed almost every time he'd been seen there, i had mentioned welts. he gets them at other times, other than illness, but his doc's theory is that his body is fighting off something, and sometimes is successful on its own before we even know he is sick.

it more than likely is an allergy to something that hasn't occurred to you yet, but i wanted to throw that out there. i have bad allergies now (had none as a kid) and i have learned they are very fickle. sometimes a particular animal doesn't bother me, and at other times, i have an immediate reaction to the same animal. not predictable at all.

like someone else suggested, i would keep a detailed list of EVERYTHING you can think of when it happens, backing up a couple of days. maybe even keep a food diary every day, so that when outbreaks occur, it isn't as hard to think back. i can't believe a doc wouldn't immediately send him for allergy testing, but just slap him on a drug. well... actually i CAN, which is the sad part! good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Check this website out: http://www.patient.co.uk/showdoc/27000970/

It may give some insight into the situation. God Bless.

1 mom found this helpful

I am so sorry!!

I have had severe allergies (allergic to everything including my own bladder!) since I was two. My daughter is the same way!

First and foremost, get him allergy tested. Find a well-respected pediatric allergist in your area. Ask local pediatricians, mothers what their recommendations are.

Your son could be having allergic rxn to your laundry detergent, dryer sheet, soap, food allergies, pollen count, mold count in your house, et al. It could literally be ANYTHING. In addition, he could be one of the lucky ppl (like my family) who are not only allergic to alot of things, but also born with an overabundance of histamine making him allergic to his own body resulting in allergic rxn when there is no noticeable allergen.

My allergist just recently told me they've discovered (not theory, fact) that one is born with allergies imprinted on DNA, but they have a protein coating. When those protein coatings are dissolved due to things such as environmental changes, stress, illness, etc, "new" allergies appear and sometimes they seem to disappear or "grow out" of them.

Do NOT put your son on and off steriods. It's dangerous. I was on/off steriods my entire life. There are very noticeable and life-impacting complications from prednisone use longterm.

Allergy shots are experimental. They don't know why it works for some people, doesn't work for others, and makes others collapse in fits of asphyxia.

Get to a pediatric allergist immediately. Use Benadryl in the meantime.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

As a toddler, my daughter had the same hive symptoms as you have described. (tan to red-brown macules that appear on the truck and spread symmetrically). It was diagnosed as Cutaneous Mastocytosis, a benign disease, and was treated with a simple daily dose of antihistimines which counteract the high levels of normal mast cells that her body was producing. The doctors actually took a picture of the hives, because it is not a very common ailment and is NOT easily diagnosed. Although Mastocytosis goes away on its own by adulthood (in 50% of cases), the worst case scenerio would be that it becomes systematic, spreading from the skin surface to the gastrointestinal tract, the bone marrow or other organs. Watch for swelling, itching, redness after rubbing, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, headaches, wheezing and diarrhea, as certain activities, drugs and (spicy) foods can trigger it (sudden weather changes has been a main factor for my daughter). She is now 16 and no longer takes the antihistimines, and has only occassional occurances of hives. Until your son is diagnosed, I would not give him anything with ASPIRIN (or penicillin) and avoid extreme heat as these are main triggers. The doctor recommended TYLONEL only. Good luck to you, please let me know what you find out!

1 mom found this helpful

The same thing happens to my two youngest boys. I notice that they break out when they get angry or upset sometimes, and sometimes it appears that clothes or the bath towel might irritate their skin. It's weird because it doesn't happen all the time. I don't know how severe yours are, but mine will only break out usually with no more than 10 hives. I've learned that after about 10-20 minutes they go away, and if there are quite a few I give them a dose of benadryl and that helps. The only other thing I can think of is animals. Do you have any pets? My middle son was breaking out every now and then, and we never put two and two together because it didn't happen all the time, but we had two cats, and figured out that they were what was making him break out. We got rid of them, and he rarely breaks out now...

1 mom found this helpful

Hi L.,

Have you seen a dermatologist? My 13-yr-old son would break out in a bumpy rash behind his knees and on his elbows since he was small. They gave us steroid cream, which worked, but they always came back. Then, they gave us allergy medicine, but eventually, that didn't work either. It turns out that he has a skin condition. He takes allegra (an antihistamine) to prevent the bumps and puts Elidel on the bumps when they show up and they are gone in a few days. He also takes zyrtec for his allergies, but it doesn't work the same as allegra and didn't prevent the skin problems. I think I would give the "skin doctor" a shot. It couldn't hurt. Good luck! L.

1 mom found this helpful

A few things to consider that you may have already ruled out, but just in case..... has he been tested for a latex sensativity? things you wouldn't expect to associate with latex can often cause hives, such as bananas, potatoes, avacado... another thing to look at is Splenda. Do you use it? This is one of the side effects being reported. If you don't use splenda check the labels on you foods for sucralose (which is another name for Spelenda. I'm guessing you've already ruled out things like laundry soap, shampoo or body wash, lotion, etc. in either case I wish you luck in finding the source.

1 mom found this helpful

It definitely sounds like an allergy. When I was a kid I was allergic to whatever chemicals were being dumped in the public pool and I used to break out in welts after swimming. It can also be psychological, up until my 20's I broke out in welts instead of having a panic attack when upset about something. Try to eliminate one variable at a time: laundry detergent, fabric softener, body soap, food allerigies, stress. I hope you can figure out which one is the trigger, good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

could it be nerves or when something is upsetting him

Leanne, does your son consume ANY aspartame (also called Nutrasweet)? It can be hidden in childrens' vitamins, chewing gum, juice, candy, diet sodas, and LOTS of other places... anything that says "sugar free" may have it.

I ask b/c recently I had the similar symptoms as your son and actually ended up in the hospital w/ anaphylactic shock symptoms and hives from head to toe. It was horrible! The doctors could find nothing "wrong" with me. I had chronic hives for 2 mos. I did allergy testing and found I was allergic to several things I eat regularly. But I suspected Aspartame poisoning b/c of some things I had been reading. So I stopped drinking D. Coke, and chewing gum, etc. It took about 2 mos. to clear out of my system and I've had NO hives for almost 6 months! I didn't change my eating habits. When I told my doctor about my conclusion, he said he would like for me to get retested for my allergies. He and I both suspect the Aspartame may have actually made me appear to be allergic to those foods and that I may not test positive for allergies now that the Aspartame is out of my system. It heightens the histimine affect. Thankfully I figured it out before it got worse. If you google Aspartame, you'll read all kinds of horrible stories of what other people have suffered while ingesting this poison. My story is relatively mild compared to some. Even the FDA lists something like 90 symptoms Aspartame has been reported to cause. I hope this helps for your son and/or for anyone else who reads it.
A.

My middle son who is now 18 has had hives since he was very little...he would get out of the bath and BOOM...major hives...or just go outside on a cold day...anything really was the trigger. It was not food or allergies to anything...it is a skin disorder in which now he takes zyertec for. He can't go without it or the hives take over. Look into the skin issue...he would still be suffering if it had not been for a very wise Doctor.

M.
Jer. 29:11

have you considered food or something in food to be the cause? we have experienced reactions to certain spices - who would have guessed? but eliminating these spices from recipes has solved the problem. i hope you are able to find the cause as it can be very frustrating.

i am working with a lady that her son is going thru the same exact thing - she has been dealing with it for some time now too - she brought her son in one day after she had visited with the allergy doc and he was covered from head to toe with hives.

her son went thru an allergy test where they "pin prick" on his back to see what he was allergic to. he was allergic to the family dog, peanut butter, wheat and i believe two or three other things that no matter what she did, he would have still reacted.

her son is now on his way to recovering, now that she is aware of the triggers and have elimated them from his environment - she is also changing the family diet to all natural, no preservative cooking because of the amount of food that is made with peanut oil.

i would make another appt with the allergy doc and ask for him to have a full testing of his triggers since any medication over a long period of time isn't good for his system.

take care and good luck to you and your son.

Does he eat processed peanut butter and Cool Whip? Both of these set my daughter off even though she isn't allergic to peanuts.
Processed peanut butter has rapeseed which is extremely toxic.
Also my neighbors kiddo in VA was allergic to the sun and they had to be very careful about how much sunshine he received.

My Husband starting breaking out in welts but we think it is a food allergy he has them to come on his back arms thighs waist they itch him really bad..I give him benadryl and it helps they need to do a allergy test to see what he is allergic to .You can have a allergy test done on your son to find out what is causing this.Good luck.

your son might have developed a food allergy or a certain food he is eating could have changed ingredients to some point. Stress is also another cause of hives. I am 34 and just developed an allergy to locust bean (found in some foods) I was eating ranch dressing and was breaking out in severe hives that turned into a rash and the only thing different in that dressing was locust bean I changed dressings to one without that ingredient and haven't had a reaction since. so you need to write down when it happens and what your son has consumed for that day and go by trial and elimination. and read food labels as well some food colorings,gluten,etc can cause allergic reactions. the only way to know for sure otherwise is a skin test for allergies at an allergy dr. Your son could develops allergies to things at any time in his life he may be allergic one year and not the next or vice versa.good luck and hope you can find what's causing it

I'm not sure if this will be helpful, but my husband used to have the same problem. I switched to a more natural laundry detergent and a hypoallergenic fabric softener (Purex makes one). Since I have done that, my husband has not had any more hives/welts episodes.

Good luck!

Hey L.,
I have just recently went through that myself with my eight year old son. He isn't allergic to any medications but he all of a sudden broke out in Hives at a sitters house. It looked like poison oak at first, but then I realized that he was having a allergic reaction to something he ate, or from what he was wearing. I took off his clothes, down to his underwear, and asked him what he had eaten that day? He told me but I didn't hear anything out of the ordinary that would cause him to have a reaction like that, so I thought that maybe for the time being I could put some callimine lotion on him. I kept him inside the house, with just his underwear on for a couple of days, and not let him put anything else on besides that. Do not put your child in a warm bath, because the hives will spread all the more over his body. Just give him bird baths, and keep putting some callimine lotion on him, until the hives go away. The lotion will help with the itching. Just inform him that he cannot scratch the hives, because it will just make them worse, and spread in other places. I would also check to see what kind of detergent you are using, because usually when you switch detergents from using another for so long, that can also cause hives. Also, just monitor what he eats, and such. Make a note or diary of it, and if you have any questions to ask the doctor on the next visit, you will have them written down.
Good luck!!!

Hives, welts, wheals . . . whatever you call them can break out from just about anything. I've only had them 3 or 4 times in my life (51+ years), and a couple of those times was from my skin getting cold, and my dad said he'd gotten them from that, too. Hope you figure it out! They're only really dangerous if they manifest inside the throat, I think.

Did the allergist TEST him for allergies? My earliest allergic response was hives. I wasn't tested until I was in my 20's, and by then, I was allergic to almost everything on the list, with several severe allergies.

L., May I suggest that you consider "Allergy" testing. As EVERY time he is exposed to the thing or things he is allergic to it can and will be worse.

My DS had to have testing done as he was having welts and hives all over his body including his face and neck. Often when someone is allergic to something, it can actually make them swell and have their throat swell as well blocking their breathing and then you have a serious emergency on your hands.

They gave me a RX for an Epi-pen in case of a serious allergic reaction. At 5 yrs old, I wouldn't wait much longer.

As always so what is best for you and your family.

I suppose with a 5-year old, you need to go through all the regular things- food allergies, etc. to make sure there is not an identifiable cause. But, I did just read a response to your post about zyrtec... I've had chronic, unexplained hives (urticaria, they call it), for 10 years now. They will come every single day if I don't take zyrtec. Zyrtec is used in the treatment of chronic hives (even unexplained causes), and is very useful for many patients. For me, it's been a life-saver...completely takes care of the problem, and without it I am completely miserable. If you don't find a reason, certainly this would be a long-term safe drug that could prevent the discomfort and itching misery that comes with most hives.

any thing with high protein in it

My daughter has had the same problems. I have no idea what causes it. I do know if use regular detergent instead of dreft or other hypoallerginic soaps she has increased episodes. I guess some people are just more sensitive to the environment than others. good luck

L., my daughter and myself have the same problem on a regular basis. Switch all your detergents and soaps to "Free" versions....dye free, fragrance free, etc. Try and buy organic when you can. Try and keep a food diary and see what he is eating on the day his hives start. You may be able to trace it to a gluten allergy or something else by elimination. Good luck!

children - and adults for that matter - can develop allergies over time. my son would have the same problem every time his skin came into contact with certain detergents or cleansers. you could start off by making sure that all soap, laundry detergent, fabric softener, shampoo, etc, is ALL NATURAL. totally free of dyes and perfumes. you might also want to try talking to a naturopath doctor, who will help you get to the bottom of it without prescribing potentially harmful drugs (like steroids) good luck!

My almost 4 yr old breaks out only when he is upset. He also holds his breath and turns blue. Doctors aren't concerned and he has no allergies. They say he will eventually grow out of it. It is his bodies way of dealing with stress or high emotion. They start on the back of the shoulders and work their way down and around but go away on their own. Doc said not to give the antihistamines unless they did not start going away after a couple hours as he can build a resistance to the medicine. We go through it daily b/c of temper tantrums and such. The breath holding was more concerning but they said this too will pass. Don't make a big fuss out of the hives and unless he's scratching or they swell I'd stick to calamine lotion. Oatmeal baths are great too!

Hi L.,

I'm so sorry you are having to deal with this. I recently converted my home over to products that don't have chemicals in them and my children's skin conditions have completely cleared up. Please go to this website http://www.saferforyourhome.com
and look around. If you would like to know how you can convert over to safer products, just shoot me a message. I hope this helps you with your problem. Hives are so uncomfortable. Good Luck.

R.

The first thing I would try is switching to allergen free detergents, soaps, shampoos, etc. Maybe do a second rinse when doing his wash - including towels and sheets.

I would also switch to more green cleaning products. One great cleaning item is microfiber cloths. Just wet them down and you can clean sinks, counters, tubs, mirrors, and windows without any cleaning products at all. www.flylady.com has some nice big ones.

Then, lastly, I would pay attention to his diet. I have heard some kids break out from yellow food coloring. These things can develop over time also and kids can become sensitive to something that they weren't sensitive to before.

Good luck!

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