Going to School with Chronic Hives

Children with chronic hives experience symptoms that often affect life in school. Pain and fatigue can interfere with your child’s success in classes. And visible symptoms can increase their risk of isolation and bullying.

An effective strategy to overcome these issues is to maintain open communication between you, your child, and their teacher. Empower your child to talk about issues at school with their teacher or other adults at school. And make sure their teacher knows how they can support your child.

How do chronic hives affect life in school?

Chronic hives can interfere with school in many ways. Children with chronic hives may deal with pain, itchiness, and fatigue during the day. This can affect their ability to focus and succeed in school. Anxiety and stress about symptoms can also prevent children from doing well in school.1,2

Visible hives can also make it harder for children to socialize. Children with visible skin conditions have a higher risk of getting teased or bullied. Other children may use hurtful words because they do not understand the condition. This can lead to a range of negative emotions, including low self-esteem and loneliness.3

Chronic hives can also prevent children from participating in some school activities. For example, heat or exercise may be a trigger for hives. Your child may need to avoid activities that cause this exposure.3

How can I reduce the academic impact of chronic hives?

Controlling symptoms at night is important to make sure your child gets enough sleep. Following the treatment regimen given by your child’s doctor can help your child sleep better. This can help prevent daytime fatigue from interfering with schoolwork.4

There might be days where symptoms interfere with sleep and school. Make sure your child has access to treatments that may reduce itchiness during the day. You might need to fill out certain paperwork in order for your child to receive medicine at school. This applies to both prescription and over-the-counter medicine.

You may want to discuss chronic hives with your child’s teacher and nurse. Some things you might want to address include:5

  • Your child’s hives cannot spread to other people
  • How to answer questions about chronic hives
  • What medicines or anti-itch treatments your child can use during the day
  • Alternative activities if your child has certain limitations
  • How fatigue may affect your child’s mood or performance in school
  • Strategies to distract your child from scratching

How can I reduce the social impact of chronic hives?

Children with visible skin conditions have a higher risk of experiencing bullying and isolation. It may be hard to know if your child is getting bullied at school. Children often do not share this information on their own, so you or their doctor may want to start these conversations. Some questions that you or their doctor can ask include:3

  • How are things going in school?
  • Do you feel safe at school?
  • Do you enjoy going to school?
  • Do you have a close friend at school?
  • How do you get along with your teachers?

If your child’s answers indicate they may be experiencing bullying or isolation, there are steps you can take.

The first thing is to listen and offer comfort and support. Reassure them that you believe them and that it is not their fault. Tell them that they are not alone in their struggles. Bullying is serious, and action needs to be taken. Report any concerns to the school. If you feel like your child is in danger, ask for an immediate safety meeting.6

Additional tips on how to advocate for your child can be found online.

Many children benefit from talking to a school counselor or a psychologist. They can provide more support and suggest strategies to overcome bullying. Strategies that may help your child include:6,7

  • Enrolling in social programs or summer camps for children with chronic skin conditions
  • Having your child help choose loose-fitting clothing they think better conceals their hives
  • Talking to parents about chronic hives, so they can in turn talk to their children
  • Talking to school employees about any situations
  • Empowering your child to talk to adults at school about any problems
  • Teaching your child how to respond to bullies
  • Exploring other resources on bullying

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Written by Matt Zajac │ Last reviewed: April 2022