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Toddler Hives after Sleeping: Potential Causes and Treatment

Sad baby with hives, caused from using scented laundry detergentAs your toddler takes that afternoon nap, you may enjoy the calmness during naptime. There may be times when you find your toddler covered in hives after sleeping. This frightening appearance may have you searching for answers in the potential causes of toddler hives after sleeping.

First, let us learn more about hives. Hives are more formally known as urticaria. Hives typically appear as round, puffy, red welts that can travel around the body and last less than 24 hours. Hives can be rather frightening in appearance. It can appear geometric as the size of the welts can range from pencil-eraser size to plate size. Hives are typically pruritic, and scratching a hive can make hives worse.

What causes hives?

There is a complex answer to that question, but a simple answer is the release of histamine is what causes and creates hives. Anti-histamine medications like Benadryl and Zyrtec are commonly used to prevent and get rid of hives.

What are the triggers or hives?

Hives have many triggers. Acute urticarial is defined as lasting less than 6 weeks, while chronic urticaria lasts greater than 6 weeks. There are many causes and triggers of urticaria, but 80% of the times, the cause is idiopathic or unknown. Food (peanut, egg, seafood, dairy) and medications are common causes of acute hives. Another common cause of acute hives includes infections like the common cold, a cavity or sinusitis. Vitamin deficiencies, iron deficiency, thyroid disease, autoimmune conditions are associated with chronic urticaria. Physical triggers include both heat and cold as well as the physical act of scratching (dermatographism) can cause hives.

Considering what causes hives and what triggers hives, the potential causes of toddler hives after sleeping make sense. A simple trigger of hives includes heat. Cholinergic urticaria occurs when the body gets too warm and sweats. You may notice toddler hives after sleeping simply if your toddler was too warm. Another common cause of hives during a toddler sleeping includes pressure. Pressure urticaria occurs when there is a release of histamine at certain pressure points. Finally, your toddler may develop hives after sleeping during an acute illness like the common cold or other viral illness.

When you notice hives, make sure your child does not have difficulty swallowing or breathing. Call 911 if there are any signs of that. If not, apply over-the-counter hydrocortisone 1% cream and take an anti-histamine like Benadryl or Zyrtec.