Hives and eczema are two skin conditions which often get confused. Being a parent we are confronted by many different challenges. Children’s skin can be affected by different types of conditions and some of them can look very similar. As allergies and immune system irregularities become more and more common many of us will also need to manage how the skin responds to allergens as part of our childrens body’s immune response.
What are hives?
Hives, also known as urticaria, is a reddish, raised, itchy skin rash which occurs in patches all over the body. The rash can appear very quickly on the body and with treatment, also resolve from the skin very quickly. The rash can happen when the body comes into contact with an allergen, such as a food allergy. This then causes an immune response which results in hives.
What is eczema?
Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, presents as an itchy, red, dry and inflamed rash, which can also become infected, weeping and crusty. It can appear anywhere on the body and can look different on different parts of the body. Eczema is thought to be caused by the way in which the immune system interacts with triggers in the environment.
How are hives different to eczema?
- Where on the body?
Hives tend to appear all over the body. Eczema is commonly seen on the face in infants and behind the knees and inside the elbows. This can change as the child gets older and can appear on the tummy, back, hands and feet.
- What is the cause?
Hives appear when the body has been exposed to an allergen, most commonly a food allergy. When this happens the body releases histamine which causes itching and redness and then hives. Eczema is caused by the body’s immune response to triggers in the environment.
- How long does the rash last?
Hives are a temporary skin condition and once treated resolve quickly. Eczema is a skin condition most children will grow out of at some stage of their lives. Not everyone will grow out of it and some children will carry it through to adulthood.
- What is the treatment?
Hives are usually treated with an anti-histamine and short course of steroid cream or ointment. Once the cause is confirmed, this trigger should be avoided. Eczema requires ongoing and intensive management with a skincare routine which maximises moisture in the skin and also protects the skin from being vulnerable to triggers in the environment.
This blog post was brought to you and your child with love from Julia and the Itchy Baby Co. team. X
Disclaimer: Information provided is of a general nature only, and you should always consult your medical professional.