body washes and shampoos, as well as in laundry detergents.
Some chemicals and dyes in clothing can also cause allergic contact dermatitis. So can adhesives, including those used in wearable blood glucose monitors, and a chemical used in sports shin guards.
Symptoms of contact dermatitis include:
- A red rash
- Itching, which may be severe
- Dry, cracked, scaly skin
- Bumps and blisters, sometimes with oozing and crusting
- Swelling, burning or tenderness
Getting the proper treatment
It’s important, Yu says, to get the correct diagnosis so your child can receive proper treatment.
“While eczema can be effectively managed, the best way to treat allergic contact dermatitis is to avoid the allergen once it has been identified,” he shares.
For example, if fragrances cause an allergic reaction, use products without them. But don’t be fooled: Products marked “unscented’ have a fragrance that is masked but can still irritate the skin. Yu suggests avoiding them and looking for fragrance-free products.
Also, be cautious about products labeled as “clean” or “natural.” The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has no specific guidelines for labeling a product as such.
“These are just buzzwords that companies put on products to tell consumers that some of the ingredients are potentially derived from natural sources,” Yu adds. “As I tell my patients, although poison ivy is natural, you wouldn’t want to use a product containing it.”
If you notice rashes or any other abnormalities on your child’s skin, it’s important to consult with your child’s doctor. He or she can perform patch testing or other tests to rule out other skin conditions. If you suspect a certain food, product, etc. is the root of your child’s skin rash, notify the doctor so that he or she can identify any potential allergies your child may have.
Essentially, the Mayo Clinic suggests seeking medical attention if:
- The rash is so uncomfortable that your child is losing sleep or distracted from daily activities
- The rash is sudden, painful, severe or widespread
- The rash doesn’t get better within three weeks
- The rash affects your child’s face or genitals
Seek immediate medical care in the following situations:
- You think your child’s skin is infected. Clues include fever and pus oozing from blisters.
- Your child’s lungs, eyes or nasal passages are painful and inflamed, perhaps from inhaling an allergen.
- You think the rash has damaged the mucous lining of your child’s mouth and digestive tract.