Hives are a skin rash that develops in response to an allergy or infection. Hives may last a few minutes or a few hours or a few weeks.

Symptoms of hives are:

  • red, raised, odd-shaped welts scattered across your child's body
  • swollen eyes or lips

If your child gets hives, you should carefully make a list of recent foods he has eaten, environmental exposures and activities.

Call your health care provider to make a clinic visit, and be sure to bring the list with you and your child.

What to do for hives

Give oral Benadryl® (by mouth) every four to six hours for relief.

If your child is taking an antibiotic when the hives start, stop giving the antibiotic and make an appointment with your health care provider for treatment. Make sure you mention that your child has hives.

Occasionally, hives are part of a more severe allergy reaction that quickly leads to difficulty breathing. If this happens, call 911.

Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Guide for the Care of Children: Ages Birth to 5 Years Old, fifth edition. For inclusivity, this guide uses "them" and "their."
Reviewed By: Allina Health's Patient Education Department experts, including the Pediatric Department of Allina Health Coon Rapids Clinic
First Published: 02/01/2010
Last Reviewed: 01/01/2016