Antihistamines help. If the hives are mild and not associated with breathing difficulty, vomiting or rapidly swelling-- an over-the-counter antihistamine such as Benadryl (or generic "diphenhydramine") is the best choice to get rid of the hives. An aveeno oatmeal bath may be soothing to itchy skin as well, as is hydrocortizone cream. If your child is having more severe symptoms, she should be seen.
Antihistamines. Antihistamines are the typical treatment. Cetirizine (zyrtec (cetirizine) and generics) are typically the allergists choice. Cool compresses also help. Hives that are recurrent or do not respond to antihistamine should be evaluated by a physician. Allergists are often the called upon the help with the diagnosis and treatment of more chronic or recurrent hives (also called urticaria).
Oral anti-histamines. Hives are raised, itchy bumps caused by histamine, a chemical released during an allergic reaction. Blocking histamine by taking an oral anti-histamine will help prevent new hives from forming, and help current hives fade away. For young toddlers, Benadryl (diphenhydramine) liquid is often used. For kids over 2 years, oral zyrtec or Claritin can also be used. Sometimes, Hydrocortisone 1% cream can decrease hives.
Amoxicillin allergy. If hives occur soon after taking amoxicillin, it suggests an allergy to amoxicillin. The best treatment is stopping the medicine and taking an antihistamine for the itching until it clears. Consider a visit to an allergist if you are not sure about the cause.
Many reasons. There are many reasons people can have hives. However in chronic hives we often never know for sure what is triggering it. Antihistamines often help the symptoms but sometimes high doses are needed. Patients with chronic hives not responding to treatment should see an allergist for evaluation.
Stay cool. If you have cholinergic urticariia you get tiny hives that grow & merge when skin temperature increases. This occurs with hot showers, hot weather, exercise & fever. Cooler showers, air conditioning, & tylenol (acetaminophen) for fevers will help. All antihistamines are useful but the best is thought to be periactin (cyproheptidine). In difficult cases I add Neurontin (gabapentin). Be prepared to be drowsy.
Zyrtec, (cetirizine) avoid heat. Avoid situations which will cause you to sweat and take Cetirizine (generic of zyrtec) 10 mg, 1 tab a day and increase to 2 tabs a day if needed. Also you may be able to desensitize yourself with a hot bath, producing a refractory period, during which hives won't occur, for 3 to 24 hours. If this is ineffective consult an allergist.
Antihistamines. Antihistamines are the preferred treatment for chronic hives, although there are other treatment possibilities if your hives are resistant to these medications. Other treatments include steroids (prednisone) and cyclosporine.
See Allergist. There are a number of treatment options for severe, refractory hives. First line is high dose non-sedating antihistamines like Zyrtec followed by H2 blockers like Zantac (ranitidine). Montelukast can also be used as well as sedating antihistamines like hydroxyzine or doxepin. If these therapies fail there are more aggressive treatments like omalizumab, anti-inflammatories, and immunosuppressants. See Allergist.
Causes rarely known. We rarely find the cause for hives that last longer than 4 weeks. Individual hives last less than 24 hours and don't leave any scars are usually benign (not due to some bad disease), even if they are very itchy and make you miserable. Initial treatment is with high doses of antihistamines. If unsuccessful, there are protocols as to how to proceed. See a board-certified allergist/immunologist.