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    Common Skin Allergies in Kids

    Allergies don’t just cause children to sneeze and wheeze. They can also show up on your child’s skin. A reaction may come in one of several forms.


    At least 10% of children around the world have this condition. It’s especially common when asthma, food allergies, or hay fever run in the family.

    Doctors aren’t totally sure what causes eczema. In infants, it shows up as a rash on the face or head. Later, it may spread to the arms and torso. The skin is often itchy and easily irritated. Symptoms can include:

    • A red rash
    • Scratching that damages the skin and leads to more itching
    • Dry skin
    • Thick, leathery patches that show up over time from scratching and rubbing
    • Repeat skin infections

    These things can set off more itching:

    • Dry air
    • Sweating
    • Rough fabrics
    • Certain soaps and detergents
    • Foods like eggs, nuts, cow milk, wheat, soy, and seafood, but only sometimes

    Allergic Rash

    When your child gets a rash after touching something he’s sensitive to, it’s called allergic contact dermatitis. Symptoms can include:

    • Severe itching
    • Skin redness or rash
    • Thick, scaly, leathery patches on the skin that develop over time

    Things that can set off these reactions include:

    • Nickel, a metal in some earrings, snaps, and buttons
    • Poison ivy, oak, and sumac
    • Ingredients in mouthwash and toothpaste
    • Chemicals and dyes in shoes
    • Cosmetics
    • Medicines used on the skin, such as neomycin (an antibiotic), antihistamines, and anesthetics (skin-numbing treatments)

    Hives and Swelling

    Hives are itchy red bumps or patches on the skin. They can last for a few minutes to a few hours. Triggers include:

    Sometimes, hives can appear without a known trigger.

    If your child has them, he may also get another kind of swelling called angioedema. It shows up on soft skin, like the kind around his mouth, eyes, and genitals. It usually doesn’t appear on its own without hives.

    WebMD Medical Reference

    Reviewed by Roy Benaroch, MD on October 23, 2014

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