Have you noticed some rash-like eruptions on your skin of late? Are you breastfeeding and are worried you could pass on the allergy to your little one? Well, if you can relate to the above situations chances are you may be suffering from hives. If you are looking for safe ways to treat hives while breastfeeding, scroll down to know more about it.
What Are Hives?
Your body’s reaction to an allergen can trigger hives. Nettle rash and urticaria, are other popular names for hives. It causes your skin to break out in red and itchy rashes that look like little bumps on your skin. If you have hives, you will experience an itching and stinging or burning sensation.
Hives can appear anywhere on your body, including your face, lips, arms, throat and even ears. The rashes may be as small as a regular eraser to as big as a meal plate. Sometimes, multiple rashes can join to form a big patch or plaque. 
What Causes Hives?
When your body reacts against an allergen, it produces the protein histamine as well as certain other chemicals. As your body releases histamine, the blood vessels in your skin leak blood plasma. It could cause swelling, itching and rashes.
Here are some of the most common causes of hives during breastfeeding:
- Drugs like aspirin, other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen, high blood pressure drugs or painkillers such as codeine may also cause hives.
- Bites by insects and bugs
- Animal dander especially from cats
- A food allergy caused by the consumption of nuts, eggs, fish, milk, chocolate, berries, shellfish and more. Foods that contain additives and preservatives may also trigger hives.
Sometimes, you may suffer from hives when your skin reacts to the following:
- Excessive sweating
- Stress, especially emotional stress
- An infection, especially mononucleosis
- An excess of exercising
- Exposure to extreme cold or too much sun
- Illness, including lupus, other autoimmune diseases, and leukemia
[ Read: Common Breastfeeding Problems ]
What Are The Symptoms Of Hives?
Some common symptoms of hives include the following:
- Appearance of red or skin-colored welts with defined edges.
- Plaques that enlarge, spread, and join to form larger areas of flat rashes.
- You know you have hives when you press the center of a plaque, and it turns white.
How To Diagnose Hives?
A doctor can diagnose hives during a physical examination. He may enquire about any history of allergies you have had. He may advise a skin biopsy and blood tests to identify the exact cause of hives.
When To Seek Medical Help?
You should seek immediate medical help if you suffer from the following:
- Inflammation in your throat, face or tongue
[ Read: Yeast Infection In Nursing Mothers ]
Treating Hives While Breastfeeding?
Antihistamine drugs are one of the most common ways to treat a case of hives, but it is not the choice of treatment when you are breastfeeding. Antihistamines drugs can enter your blood stream, permeate your breast milk and harm your baby. If you have contracted hives and are also breastfeeding, do not panic yet. Here is how you can start the treatment for hives while breastfeeding : 
- Speak to your doctor the moment you notice the rashes. Make sure you inform your doctor that you are breastfeeding your baby. Your doctor may still prescribe antihistamines. Discuss the potential side-effects the medication may cause you or your baby. One of the best ways to use antihistamine drugs is to use the one you can inhale. Take it as soon as you feed your baby, as it will reduce your baby’s chances of exposure to the same.
- Check with your doctor if he can identify a specific allergen that triggered hives. Try and avoid exposure to the same to minimize further risk.
- Try using a cold compress that will soothe the itching or burning sensation due to hives.
- Avoid tight-fitting clothes and hot showers while you are suffering from hives.
[ Read: Safe Medicines While Breastfeeding ]
Do not stress yourself if you have hives, as stress can further aggravate the condition. Speak to the doctor immediately and follow all necessary precautions to avoid it in future.
If you too suffered from hives while you were breastfeeding, do share your experience with other moms here.
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