Nettle rash in children / Stop nettle rash from itching

Nettle rash, more commonly known as hives, is an itchy rash consisting of red, raised welts that occur over portions of the body. The name “nettle rash” derives from the hives which resemble the rash received from touching a plant called stinging nettle. There isn’t always a known cause for the rash, but there are specific triggers. Up to 15-20% of the population will experience nettle rash at some point. Nettle rash usually dissipates on its own within a few hours but may reoccur on another spot of the body.


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Nettle rash, or hives, can be caused by internal or external factors. Many instances of nettle rash are caused by food allergies. Additionally, nickel or perfume allergies can cause nettle rash. Contact with certain pollen, fungal spores, plants, and animals (such as Jellyfish) can also cause hives. Nettle rash can also be caused by physical stimuli such as cold, heat, sunlight, sweating, or pressure. 


How to stop nettle rash from itching

Nettle rash occurs due to the production of histamines in response to an internal or external cause, so the treatment is often to use some sort of antihistamine to ease the itching. If the itching is not particularly bothering your child, you don’t necessarily need to treat it, but if your child is uncomfortable, try an antihistamine lotion.

Ideally, you should find out the cause of the nettle rash to prevent it from happening again. Take note of what your child has eaten that day or if they were playing outside, the plants they may have touched that could have caused the nettle rash to develop. You should especially do this if your child is experiencing multiple instances of nettle rash.


When to see a doctor about nettle rash

If your child develops hives or nettle rash, it’s not usually a big cause for concern in and of themselves. However, it can be helpful to mention to your child’s doctor if they get recurring hives. There are some cases in which hives are an emergency. If your child develops itchy welts or has a burning sensation in their throat, has swelling in their lips, face, or tongue, or experiences any symptoms of anaphylaxis, seek emergency medical help. If they experience hives after a bee sting or new medication, along with nausea, cough, dizziness, and/or trouble breathing, this could indicate a severe allergic reaction and should be checked out immediately.