Pictures of Skin Allergies in Children
Pictures of Skin Allergies in Children
Rashes happen from time to time, especially in dry weather. If your child’s rash doesn’t seem to go away despite home remedies and lotions, then you could be dealing with skin allergies.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the prevalence of skin allergies in children increased from 7.4 to 12.5 percent between 1997 and 2011. This statistic shows that skin allergies are a real problem in children. Learning the different types and symptoms of skin allergies can lead the way to more effective treatment—and, ultimately, relief for your kids.
Causes of Skin Allergies
Allergies occur when the body negatively reacts to certain substances. These can include, but aren’t limited to:
- dust mites
- pet dander
In some cases, skin allergy symptoms show up when the skin comes into direct contact with an external substance. Signs may also appear in conjunction with other types of allergy symptoms, such as headache, congestion, sneezing, and runny nose.
Atopic dermatitis is characterized by red rashes that may or may not itch. According to KidsHealth, it is the most common form of eczema, an inflammatory skin condition that affects millions of people around the world. Most people who develop atopic dermatitis do so during childhood, and usually before the age of five. Environmental pollutants are thought to be a leading cause of atopic dermatitis, which explains why it is more common in urban areas than the countryside. There is also a link to hay fever and asthma. Atopic dermatitis may occur with or without allergies.
Allergic Contact Dermatitis
Contact dermatitis results in a rash immediately after being exposed to an irritating substance. If your child develops an allergy to a substance, then he or she may have allergic contact dermatitis. Fragrances, clothing, food, plants, and metals are all common culprits. Symptoms are:
- itchy, red skin
- scales and cracks
- leathery skin from frequent exposure
Hives are different in appearance and texture from eczema. They are often associated with a severe allergic reaction that may accompany other symptoms. These include breathing difficulties and swollen mouth or face. If your child exhibits any of these symptoms, seek emergency medical help immediately. Your doctor may also instruct you to use an epinephrine shot. Hives look like large bug bites, with raised red skin patches. Unlike other skin allergies, they don’t have dryness or scales.
Sebborheic dermatitis can occur at any age, but it is extremely common in infants. Often called “cradle cap,” the resulting rashes are characterized by crusty, scaly patches. They can range from yellow to red in color. The rash looks similar to atopic dermatitis, except the patches have a waxy, oily texture. The primary danger with sebborheic dermatitis is its potential to turn into a skin infection from scratching the area. This type of skin allergy is more prevalent in oily skin types, and tends to run in families.
Testing and Diagnosis
Not all skin rashes are caused by allergies, but it’s important to rule out this possibility early on. This way, your doctor can prescribe the right treatments. Patch testing is the most common form of allergy diagnosis. Also called the skin prick test, the process involves the introduction of small amounts of allergens into the skin. If a reaction occurs, then your child may have an allergy to the substance. Your doctor will use various substances based on environment and family history.
Other diagnostic tests may include:
- blood tests
- elimination diet (for food allergies)
- urine analysis
Numerous treatment options are available for skin allergies:
- antihistamines for immediate itching relief (added sedatives may also help your child sleep during the night)
- emollient-containing lotions to relieve extreme dryness associated with atopic and allergic chemical dermatitis
- corticosteroids to reduce inflammation
Allergy shots can provide long-term relief for chronic skin allergies. Also called immunotherapy, these shots contain small amounts of allergens to help build up the body’s immunity to triggers.
Oral and topical antibiotics may also be used for rashes that become infected. It is important to prevent scratching as much as possible to avoid skin infections.
Skin allergies happen at any age, but the CDC says they are most common in young children. This is why it’s important to address any unusual skin changes in your child early before complications ensue. Proactive measures are important in preventing recurring skin allergy symptoms in children. Even if a rash goes away, it can come back if your child is exposed to certain triggers again. Work with a pediatrician to make sure all treatment measures are addressed and apply topical ointments as directed.
- Allergy Testing for Children (2005). Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Retrieved August 27, 2013, from http://www.aafa.org/display.cfm?id=9&sub=19&cont=253
- Eczema. (n.d.). KidsHealth. Retrieved September 5, 2013, from http://kidshealth.org/parent/infections/skin/eczema_atopic_dermatitis.html
- Rashes (n.d.). National Institutes of Health. Retrieved August 27, 2013, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/rashes.html
- Seasonal Allergies in Children (2013, May 29). American Academy of Pediatrics. Retrieved August 27, 2013, from http://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/allergies-asthma/pages/Seasonal-Allergies-in-Children.aspx?nfstatus=401&nftoken=00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000&nfstatusdescription=ERROR%3a+No+local+token
- Trends in Allergic Reactions Among Children (2013, May 2). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved August 27, 2013, from http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db121.htm