Viral Hives and a Healing Oatmeal Bath

Little Cricket has had an awful virus.  It started with not sleeping.  Then came croup.  Then fever.  Then a runny nose.  And finally, hives.

Until now, I had no idea that hives could be associated with a virus, but according to the book the pediatrician gave us, it’s not uncommon.  Hives aren’t just an allergy thing.

Poor kiddo looked like she’d been in a fight with a poison ivy plant.  Her face was swollen, and they always seemed to flare up the worst at nap and bedtime.  Benadryl didn’t help and neither did the cortisone cream that the doctor suggested.

Cricket does not like feeling itchy all the time.
Cricket does not like feeling itchy all the time.

So I did what any good mom in 2013 does.  I posted on Facebook.  Right away, several of my allergy-suffering friends suggested oatmeal baths.  Of course!  I had completely forgotten about those!  But when I had an itchy skin reaction to a sunburn as a kid, those little packets were the only thing that provided relief.

But do you do when you don’t have the little packets?  Easy! If you’ve got oatmeal in the pantry, you’re in business.

I tied it all up into an old stocking and soaked it in the tub.  The result was a soothing, milky, nourishing bath and one happy toddler.  The stocking made a great washcloth to sponge the oatmeal and coconut oil over her body, although when it was floating around in the tub, it really creeped Cricket out for some reason.  Unless I was actively sponging, she wanted that thing out of the water and safely perched on the edge of the tub where she could keep an eye on it.

The super creepy oatmeal stocking
The super creepy oatmeal stocking

In the end, the oatmeal bath did wonders for her itchiness.  It gave her relief until the hives could disappear on her own later that evening, and in the end, that is just what I hoped for.

Ultra Healing Oatmeal Bath

  • 1 Cup old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 Tablespoon Coconut oil (extra virgin is preferred, but I’m having trouble finding that here in the Midwest, so I used refined this day)
  • 1 stocking or sock or other container to hold the ingredients

Grind the oats into a very fine powder, and pour it into your stocking.  I used a canning funnel to make it easier to get everything in without spilling everywhere.  Add in the dollop of coconut oil on top of the ground oats and immediately toss into the tub.  Let it soak for a few minutes until the water is milky.  Then add the cranky toddler and watch the magic happen.

Swishing and squeezing the stocking helps mix more of the oaty/oily goodness into the water.  As an added bonus, lots of sponging and handling the stocking gave me very smooth hands, a relief from the dry winter skin that I’ve started having.


The only drawback to this bath is the gnarly oat residue and the ring it leaves around the tub.  It was fairly easy to clean, though, since I keep one of those soap dispensing scrubbers in my bathroom with a soap/vinegar mix anyway.  I just grabbed that, swished around the ring and the bottom of the tub, gave it a quick rinse, and I was done.

I hope this recipe brings relief to you all like it did for us!

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