Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
What is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder?
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, ADHD, is one of the most common mental disorders that develop in children. Children with ADHD have impaired functioning in multiple settings, including home, school, and in relationships with peers. If untreated, the disorder can have long-term adverse effects into adolescence and adulthood.
Signs & Symptoms
Symptoms of ADHD will appear over the course of many months, and include:
- Impulsiveness: a child who acts quickly without thinking first.
- Hyperactivity: a child who can’t sit still, walks, runs, or climbs around when others are seated, talks when others are talking.
- Inattention: a child who daydreams or seems to be in another world, is sidetracked by what is going on around him or her.
How is it diagnosed?
If ADHD is suspected, the diagnosis should be made by a professional with training in ADHD. This includes child psychiatrists, psychologists, developmental/behavioral pediatricians, behavioral neurologists, and clinical social workers. After ruling out other possible reasons for the child’s behavior, the specialist checks the child’s school and medical records and talks to teachers and parents who have filled out a behavior rating scale for the child. A diagnosis is made only after all this information has been considered.
Effective treatments for ADHD are available, and include behavioral therapy and medications.
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Allergic Skin Disorders
Allergic Skin Disorders
Allergic skin disorders, or skin allergies, are a sometimes-serious and often uncomfortable type of allergic disorder. Like asthma and rhinitis, allergic skin disorders can be effectively treated to minimize discomfort and disturbance to daily activities. Skin problems are often caused by an immune system reaction, signifying an allergy. Allergic skin conditions can take several forms and are due to various causes. The most common allergic skin reactions and conditions are atopic dermatitis, urticaria and angioedema, and allergic contact dermatitis.
Atopic dermatitis, also called eczema, is an allergic skin disorder often affecting the face, elbows and knees. Itching is the hallmark symptom and can sometimes be very intense. With time, the lesions tend to scale and flake. Oozing will occur if a bacterial or viral infection is introduced by scratching.
Identifying the cause of the itch, when possible, is essential in relieving the dermatitis. Common triggers include allergens, overheating or sweating, emotional stress, eating certain foods and contact with irritants such as wool, pets, soaps or other agents.
Urticaria and Angioedema
Urticaria, also called hives, are red, very itchy, swollen areas of the skin that can range in size and appear anywhere on the body. Most common are acute cases of hives, where the cause is readily identifiable—often a viral infection, drug, food or latex. These hives usually go away spontaneously with or without medical intervention or removal of the trigger. Some people have chronic hives that occur almost daily for months to years. For these individuals, various circumstances or events such as scratching, pressure or “nerves” may aggravate hives. However, eliminating these triggers has little effect on the natural course of this bothersome condition.
Angioedema is a swelling of the deeper layers of the skin and sometimes occurs with hives. It is not red or itchy and most often occurs in soft tissue, such as the eyelids, mouth or genitals.
Allergic Contact Dermatitis
When the skin comes in contact with an allergic substance, allergic contact dermatitis may result. The reaction will usually start after one to three days. The skin becomes red, itchy and inflamed, and will frequently blister. Poison ivy is the most common cause, but other plants, metals, cosmetics and medications can also cause a reaction. Allergic contact dermatitis can be treated by scrubbing the skin with soap and water after exposure to the allergen and using prescribed antihistamine and cortisone medications, depending on its severity.
Allergic Skin Disorders Statistics
- Allergic dermatitis (itchy rash) is the most common skin condition in children younger than 11 years of age. The percentage of children diagnosed with it has increased from 3% in the 1960s to 10% in the 1990s. Horan, R.F., Schneider, L.C., Sheffer, A.L. “Allergic Disorders and Mastocytosis.” Journal of the American Medical Association. (1992) 268:2858-2868.
- Contact dermatitis and other eczema was diagnosed at over 7.1 million office visits to physicians and 430,000 hospital outpatient visits. United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Center for Health Statistics. Vital and Health Statistics Series. (1996) Vol. 13, No. 134.
- Urticaria (hives) and angioedema (swelling of the deeper layers of the skin) together affect approximately 15% of the U.S. population every year. Horan, R.F., Schneider, L.C., Sheffer, A.L. “Allergic Disorders and Mastocytosis.” Journal of the American Medical Association. (1992) 268:2858-2868.