Purpose of review: The present article reviews childhood urticaria. It provides an update on the current understanding of its pathophysiology and highlights the current practice in the management of this condition.
Recent findings: Progress has been made in understanding the pathophysiology of urticaria with the elucidation of an autoimmune basis in a significant proportion of children with chronic spontaneous urticaria. H1-antihistamines remain the mainstay of therapy, but there is increasing awareness on the risks of sedating first-generation antihistamines. Omalizumab is increasingly being used off-license in the most refractory cases.
Summary: Urticaria is a common disease that affects children and adults. However, paediatric urticaria has specific features and remains poorly understood. Acute spontaneous urticaria is the most common clinical presentation in childhood. It is caused by viral infection in most cases with an identifiable trigger. By contrast, chronic spontaneous urticaria in children may be autoimmune, but more studies are needed to understand the clinical significance of functional autoantibodies in this subgroup of patients. Investigations should always be guided by history. Treatment remains largely symptomatic. H1-antihistamines are the mainstay of therapy but are insufficient to control symptoms in all patients. There is an urgent need for more efficacious therapies.