Cellulitis is a bacterial infection of the skin that can appear as a red, swollen area of skin that may feel warm to the touch. The most common bacteria causing cellulitis include Haemophilus, Staphylococcus, or Streptococcus. While the skin may appear to be intact, there are often very small cracks (fissures) in the skin through which the bacteria enter. The infant may also have a fever or seem fussy.While the infection may be just on the top skin layer (superficial), it can also affect deeper tissues, involving the muscle, bone, and possibly blood. It is important to recognize cellulitis as early as possible so it can be treated with antibiotics. If left untreated, cellulitis may turn into a life-threatening condition.
As one of the most frequent causes for visits to the doctor's office, insect bites and/or stings are quite common among infants. While bites and stings on an infant are typically just an inconvenience, some reactions can be life threatening. The severity of an insect bite will vary from child to child, and only a small minority of infants develops this severe reaction (anaphylaxis).It is important to get immediate medical attention for a severe reaction to a bite or sting, such as those that may occur with stings from bees, wasps, and hornets. Most insects (such as ants, mosquitoes, flies, spiders, ticks, and mites) do not cause such a severe reaction.A bee will occasionally leave behind a stinger attached to a venom sac. It is important to try and remove it as soon as possible. Wasps, on the other hand, do not leave their stingers in the skin after stinging, which means they can sting more than once.
Irritant contact dermatitis is caused by direct chemical injury, repeated rubbing (friction), or injury of any kind to the skin. Irritant contact dermatitis is not the same as true allergic contact dermatitis, which is a delayed allergic response caused by a reaction with the immune system, where a rash appears 48–72 hours after exposure to the triggering substance (an allergen).People with irritant contact dermatitis usually have burning or stinging soon after the rash appears. Symptoms and rash associated with irritant contact dermatitis usually occur within hours if exposed to a strong irritant. As the irritation continues and the skin becomes constantly inflamed, the burning, stinging rash can become severe.
Miliaria rubra, also known as heat rash or prickly heat, is a common skin condition caused by the blockage of the sweat gland. Although this rash can be caused by fever, heat rash is more commonly seen in infants who are dressed too warmly (in the winter).
Herpes infections are caused by both herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2). Although HSV-1 more commonly causes sores in and around the mouth and HSV-2 more commonly causes genital and anal sores, both can appear anywhere on the body. Primary herpes is defined as the first outbreak of lesions and is usually more severe than future (recurrent) episodes.Herpes simplex virus (HSV) is highly contagious and is easily transmitted through direct contact with the lesions of an infected person. However, the virus can also spread in the absence of symptoms or visible lesions. Affected individuals carry the virus in their bodies for the rest of their lives.In newborn babies (within the first month of life), HSV infection, known as neonatal herpes, can potentially be life threatening, and symptoms almost always accompany infection. The virus is able to enter the brain and spinal fluid and can cause seizures and even death.
Warts are common growths on the skin that are present on 5–10% of all children. They are caused by a virus called the human papillomavirus (HPV). Warts appear as circular raised flesh-colored growths that have a roughened, irregular surface. Common warts (verruca vulgaris) occur most frequently on the fingers, backs of the hands, face, knees, and elbows. They are usually not painful and are harmless. Warts will usually resolve on their own and do not require any treatment.
With concerns about the H1N1 swine flu and other infectious diseases, many schools are adding hand sanitizer to their list of required supplies this year. But this policy leads to several questions: What should we look for when selecting a hand sanitizer? Do these products really work? If they do work, will using them create drug-resistant organisms? No doubt some of you have seen concerning e-mail reports of children becoming gravely ill after ingesting hand sanitizer. I have two school-aged children, and I decided to find the answers before I set out to buy our school supplies.
We’ve slathered them with sunscreen all summer and forced them to wear shirts and hats on the beach. Now, as we send them back to school, our kids may be exposed to common skin infections, more likely to break out in groups where they play, roughhouse, and sometimes share personal items.
September means back to school – the end of a busy summer vacation season and time for Mom and Dad to relax as the kids are occupied with new friends and activities. Sometimes the close contact that kids have with each other can lend itself to the development of some common childhood skin infections. Here we review some of the more common infections seen in this age group:
My toddler daughter routinely expresses concern over the red birthmark on my left calf. She pats it and says, “Mommy, you have a boo-boo. Let’s put some cream on it.” She wants to “make it better” for me, to make this mark go away. I thank her for her concern and tell her that it’s OK – it’s just a little mark on my skin called a “birthmark.” She listens as I explain, puzzled, and then looks for her own birthmark, which she doesn’t have – further compounding the mystery.
As winter approaches, the skin irritations and rashes associated with eczema tend to start showing up with increased frequency. As a pediatric dermatologist I see this trend in my patients every year. Eczema in children first shows up in infancy and gets better as kids get older. But in the meantime, many sufferers of childhood eczema find this time of year uncomfortable. In this post I explain some of the common triggers of eczema-related rashes and offer some suggestions for parents to deal with these symptoms.
Measles has been on the rise in the US. This is due, in part, to concerns regarding the safety of the MMR vaccine. Although recent research has provided strong evidence against the association of autism with MMR vaccine administration, some parents still choose to request one or more vaccine exemptions on the basis of personal beliefs for their child to attend day care or school.