In this section
Mastocytosis (urticaria pigmentosa) is a mostly harmless condition where your child has more than the normal number
of mast cells in the body. Mast cells are found in everyone in the
skin, bowels, gut (stomach), lungs and air passages.
Mast cells do not usually cause problems. In fact, they play an
important role in helping our body's immune system to protect the body against diseases.
A person with mastocytosis in the skin will have pink or brown
flat spots that will eventually go away after several years.
Some people will have only a few of these spots while others will have
Mastocytosis can come on at any age, but the disease is
different when adults get it. Children with mastocytosis usually
get it in their first year of life and will usually have an increase in the number of mast cells in the
skin only. It is very rare for children to have an increase in mast
cells in other organs.
In children who have mastocytosis in the skin only, it is most
likely that it will go away by itself. However, this may take many years. Seven
out of 10 children with mastocytosis in their skin can expect a major improvement by the
time they are 10 years old.
Mast cells contain many different natural chemicals, a common
one being histamine. A number of things can cause the
mast cells to release these chemicals including heat, rubbing and
certain foods and drugs. In children with mastocytosis, the mast
cells release more chemicals than their body
needs because they have extra mast cells. The chemicals
can cause symptoms that range from very minor to severe.
Sometimes a blood test and/or a skin test is required. This
Often no medication is needed. However, antihistamines (e.g. Zyrtec, Claratyne, Zantac) in tablet or syrup form may be used to
relieve symptoms including the itching. You can buy these from
your local chemist. Topical cortisone creams and wet wraps
have also been found to be helpful.
We do not recommend the routine carrying of an Epi-pen.
Care at home involves avoiding the things that trigger or cause a
response in your child.
Some medications can stimulate mast cells to release histamine.
It is better that your child avoids these. For example, pain
killers, cough medicines and anaesthetics can cause problems.
Always check medications with your child's doctor. If your child is having
surgery, inform the anaesthetist about the mastocytosis.
Other things that may trigger a response are:
Please contact your child's doctor if they have problems