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My 23 month old son broke out in hives last year just two weeks before his first birthday in February.

I did not change anything about his diet as he was eating foods that he had always eaten. At that time, he had already tried fish for a few months and not shown any allergies. He also has had bread since he was 8 months old with no incident. The hives went away after 10 days with anti-histamines.

6 weeks ago, he broke out in hives again. Since the last episode, he has shown that he can tolerate egg, soya sauce (he likes char siew pau), bovril (in his porridge) and oyster sauce (in the stir fried vegetables we cook). So when he broke out again, I was mystified yet again. I don’t give him seafood aside from fish and I don’t let him have nuts. I thought perhaps he had developed an allergy to dust mites or baby detergent (used for his clothes) so I sunned his bed, washed his sheets in hot water, decided to just wash his clothes in hot water. But he still broke out. At the height of it, he ahd hvies all over his body. Even with anti-histamines (Zyrtec, Promethazine, Ahtrax, etc), he would wake up with a few spots and these would increase (though not as bad as during the peak period) or “relocate” throughout the day.

I finally took him to take an allergy test on Monday (10th Jan) and am waiting for the results. But I would just like to know if kids can suddenly develop an intolerance towards foods that they used to have no problems with.

I don’t wish my son to be on meds for such a long term and am just praying he will return to normal soon.

So far, the doctors I have seen insist I must have given him peanuts or something super allergic but since his last episode a year ago, I have been very careful about what he eats. 6 weeks is a long time. And I need alternative viewpoints if possible!

Thank you

Asked by Junkradar - Posted 7 years, 11 months, 3 days, 23 hours, 3 minutes ago.

Dear Junkradar,

Thank you for your query regarding hives.

I see this commonly in my practice. I am almost certain that all the fancy allergy tests (by the way, cost an arm and a leg) you had performed on your son, will return as normal.

The most common reason is due to a post viral infection. What I believe tends to happen is that the viral allergen has gone but the body’s immune system remains activated and continues to produce certain inflammatory chemicals that show up as persistent hives.
This can be very distressing for both child and parent.

I very very rarely require to do any allergy testing as most often it is normal and makes you no wiser, or more inappropriately at times show up as allergies to a host of foods. What you should not do is start avoiding things in his diet deliberately. Its important that growing children have a well rounded meal and continue to explore new foods. The cause again is VERY often not food related.

Treatment:
Stay away from all strong anti histaminics such as promethazine.
You can use a safer non sedative such as desloratidine. The dose may require to be gradually increased if response is poor but by and large almost all children will do well and eventually outgrow the problem. It would mean however taking medication long term, perhaps months if need be. They are safe and will not cause dependency.

Please consult your paediaricians for this.

I hope this has been of some help.

With kind regards,

Dr. Sanjay Woodhull
Consultant Paediatrician

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