Contact dermatitis is a physiological reaction that occurs when skin comes in contact with certain substances. Irritants to the skin cause 80 percent of these reactions, while the remaining 20 percent are caused by allergens, which trigger an allergic response.
Adults are affected by allergic contact dermatitis more than young children or the elderly.
The most common causes of irritants to children include the following:
Plants, as well as metals, cosmetics, and certain medications, may also cause contact dermatitis. These include:
The most severe reaction is usually at the contact site. The following are some of the other symptoms associated with contact dermatitis. However, each child may experience symptoms differently.
The symptoms of contact dermatitis can resemble other skin conditions, so always consult a physician for the correct diagnosis.
The best treatment is to identify and avoid the substances that may have caused the allergic contact dermatitis. The following recommendations from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology are geared for mild to moderate reactions:
The Division of Dermatology at Children's National Hospital continues to expand services as more families seek our expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the skin, hair and nails.
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