Common Causes of Skin Allergies in Kids

Children are prone to three different types of skin allergies. Each type has its own causes and treatments. If the cause of an allergy is not discovered, repeated exposures to the allergen can make the reactions worse. It is important for parents to seek out the source of the allergy, so that steps for avoiding the trigger can be taken.

Eczema
Eczema is a scaly rash that appears as very dry skin on different areas of a child's body, especially hands and folds of skin. It itches, and scratching makes it worse. This rash comes from an ingested allergen and is systemic. The cause can be any number of foods, chemical agents or food additives.

Treatment is usually topical, in the form of moisturizers, steroid creams or ointments and cortisone derivatives. The best "cure" for skin allergies however is finding the allergen and eliminating exposure to it, which only your doctor can help you to do.

Contact Dermatitis
This is a rash which results from touching something that causes a rash reaction from the skin. The symptoms are inflamed, red areas at the location of contact, often with small blisters.

Most common causes of contact dermatitis are: plants (such as poison ivy or poison oak), chemicals (such as in glue, paint, dye, detergents, soaps, cleaning products and makeup), latex, certain fabrics and nickel (a metal coating on cheap jewelry).

Treatment for contact dermatitis includes an antihistamine such as Benedryl, or a cream or ointment such as cortisone. The best preventative is determining the cause of the rash, and avoiding it. The cause of contact dermatitis is easy to determine, as the rash develops soon after the contact with the irritant, on the part of the body that it touched.

Hives
Hives is a rash of large or small red bumps in clusters or groups on various parts of the body.  It is usually systemic but could also be a contact related rash. Hives can be caused by touching, breathing or eating an allergen or even by emotional stress. This makes it harder to identify the cause of an outbreak.

The good news is that hives usually resolves on its own, when mild. For moderate hives, an antihistamine such as Benedryl taken in liquid or capsule form will usually provide complete relief. Severe hives can be a reason to get to the doctor or emergency room, as they can cause anaphylactic reactions including restricting breathing if swelling begins and accelerates.

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