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As a parent, it is obvious that you get anxious if you notice red bumps or red patches on the skin of your baby. Hives in babies are no fun. If you are unaware of what hives are and if you want to know signs and symptoms of those red bumps, here it is.  

What are Hives?

Hives are raised, swollen areas on the skin of your baby. They are either pale red in color or flesh coloured. It could be easily defined with a raised area in the centre surrounded by a red border. Baby hives can be of different sizes or shapes and could be very itchy, painful and can even burn. A very distinct character of hives is it might appear and disappear over a period of 10-15 minutes or take a few hours.

Baby hives are also called nettle rash, wheals, urticaria.

 Causes of Hives:

The common cause of hives is the physical contact or ingestion of an allergen or irritant. The body responds to the allergen by releasing a chemical called Histamine. This causes the reaction on the skin. Some of the common causes of hives are:

· Specific food item allergy: It might be from what mom ate that baby got from breast milk or what the baby eats directly. Some of the food items that could cause allergy are nuts, milk, egg, tomatoes, shellfish, etc.

· Insect bites or stings: Some of the allergies might be due to ant bites or bee stings.

· Pets: Some babies might break out hives by stroking the pets they are sensitive to.

· Excessive perspiration of the skin

· Exposure to extreme temperatures such as prolonged exposure to sun or something cold

· Excessive scratching of the skin

· Reaction to the cream applied or lotion

· Reaction due to chemicals

· Infections 

Signs and Symptoms of Hives:

General signs and symptoms of hives are as follows:

1. Reddish raised welts or bumps with a pale centre on the skin of your baby which is more likely to itch intensely.

2. Hives can appear as clusters in one place or on different parts of the body.

3. Size of hives can vary from a few millimeters to as big as a large plate. It depends on various factors.

4. These hives can exhibit the itchy character along with being painful and burning sensation on the red bumps.

5. In extreme cases, your baby might have breathlessness, dizziness or even fainting. Immediate medical assistance should be provided in that case.

6. Angioedema is another condition which could occur with hives. In this case, there will be puffiness and swelling of feet, hands, mouth, eyes, throat, lips and even the genitals.

7. Baby hives usually disappear within a period of 24 hours.

8. In case of dermographism, when the skin is scratched, the hives develop in a linear fashion. 

9. Baby hives are not contagious.

10. Baby hives can have other symptoms depending on the trigger that caused the hives. For example, if the baby hives are due to infection, your baby might be having runny nose, cough, sore throat or mild fever along with the hives.

11. Baby hives are generally harmless. But if it is accompanied by other symptoms like wheezing, difficulty in swallowing, swelling in mouth and throat, it is due to a more serious reaction called anaphylaxis. It needs immediate medical attention.

12. The extreme cases of baby hives could show the symptoms of rapid heart rate, skin getting cold and clammy, nausea and vomiting. 

13. The extreme cases could cause internal damage and stress if left untreated.

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