KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Seeing red spots all over your child can be alarming, especially if you don’t know the cause. One of the most common culprits is hives.

Most people think of hives as an allergic reaction to something, but there can be other causes. East Tennessee Children’s Hospital Emergency Room Director Dr. Ryan Redman shares some of the symptoms, causes and treatments for hives.

How do you know it is hives? 

It’s an itchy rash that consists of raised red bumpy areas, usually with pale centers, which can appear in clusters. The rash can look like multiple mosquito bites. Hives can occur in just one area or all over the body. They can disappear and reappear in another area.

Common causes 

Sometimes doctors can’t pinpoint what is causing a child’s hives.

Some causes are:

  • Allergies. Hives can be the body’s reaction to an allergen such as food like peanuts or shellfish; animals; insect bites/stings; or medication.
  • Infections or Illness
  • Anxiety or Stress


In most cases hives go away on their own without treatment. If a cause is determined, you will want to avoid that trigger. Antihistamines can help with the itchiness of hives.

If hives last longer than six weeks they are chronic hives. It can take time and patience to find an effective treatment for chronic hives.

When is it an emergency? 

Anaphylactic shock and bad attacks of hives are rare. But when they happen, they require immediate medical care. This is a reason to come to the ER or call an ambulance. In these cases your child will likely be prescribed an injectable shot of epinephrine to carry at all times for future attacks.

For more information follow links below.

  • Hives (American Academy of Pediatrics)
  • Hives (KidsHealth)