Acrodermatitis & Your Child

Acrodermatitis & Your Child

What is acrodermatitis?

Acrodermatitis is a skin condition common in children. It is also termed Gianotti-Crosti syndrome.
It is a common skin condition that typically affects children between the ages of 3 months and 15 years.
The virus that is responsible for it is very contagious but the disease itself is not. Hence close interaction of your kids with other kids or their siblings that have been previously affected can predispose them to contract it. This is so because while it is true that previously affected children say a year earlier, don’t have the symptoms again, they can still have the virus in their body.
Some persons have chosen to call it, “papular acrodermatitis of childhood.”

Acrodermatitis is characterized by itchy blisters on the body. These blisters could be purple or red. Bloated abdomen, swollen, sore lymph nodes, and fever are some other symptoms associated with it.
Acrodermatitis is most common in the spring and summer. It typically lasts for four to eight weeks but can last as long as four months. It usually resolves without needing treatment or causing complications.

Symptoms of acrodermatitis

After contracting acrodermatitis, your child will start to develop red spots on the thighs, buttocks, and arms within 3 – 4 days. This does not mean that it can’t be formed in other parts of the body. But those three are the most common areas that are affected. As the condition advances, it begins to spread towards the face, and the spots graduate from red to purple. This will usually occur when small blood vessels called capillaries begin to allow blood to leak into the areas that have been affected.

The advanced form of the disease is associated with fluid-filled itchy blisters. The abdomen and lymph nodes of your child can become swollen and tender for up to 3 months.
Don’t always look out for red or purple colored patches. Acrodermatitis can also be signaled by a flat and firm-feeling copper-colored skin patch.

If hepatitis B is the reason behind your child’s acrodermatitis, you can expect to find a tint of yellow on his eyes and skin, popularly known as jaundice. Jaundice will be seen 20 days from the first day of the presentation of the symptoms.

Causes of acrodermatitis

Acrodermatitis is a not-too-serious condition whose incidence is well known; although a few cases have been reported. It can be swept in by an epidemic of viral infections caused by EBV (Epstein-Barr virus). In fact, it is its common cause. This is common in the US. EBV is a herpes virus that can readily be spread via body fluids, especially saliva.
Other viruses may cause acrodermatitis. They include:

  1. Human Immunodeficiency Virus – the AIDS virus
  2. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV): it is the virus responsible for mild cold-like symptoms both in kids and adults. But it is more deadly infants and young children.
  3. Enterovirus: Responsible for certain respiratory infections and cold-like symptoms.
  4. Hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C
  5. Rubella: it an infection that manifests as rashes.
  6. Coxsackievirus: It is responsible for mouth sores. It also causes rashes in children.
  7. Parainfluenza viruses are a group of viruses that bring about respiratory sickness in infants and young children.
  8. Rotavirus: It is the virus that causes diarrhea in infants.

Vaccines for some viral diseases can result in acrodermatitis, though in very rare instances. Such vaccines include smallpox, influenza, pertussis, poliovirus, diphtheria, hepatitis A and chickenpox.

How acrodermatitis is diagnosed

By examining your child’s skin and asking a few questions regarding their symptoms, your doctor can diagnose acrodermatitis. Further tests that might be carried out are;

A urine or blood test

This test is to find out your child’s bilirubin levels. Bilirubin concentration is a good indicator of hepatitis. The unusual concentration of certain liver enzymes in the blood can also indicate hepatitis. Still, in the blood, EBV antibodies can signal an EBV infection. One of the elements that a blood test can also assess is your child’s zinc level. Zinc levels in the blood can rule out a special type of acrodermatitis which is genetic in origin. It is called acrodermatitis enteropathica.

Skin biopsy

A sample of your child’s skin will be obtained for analysis. This will be achieved by scraping a part of the skin. This is because other skin diseases like eczema and ringworm can present as a rash.

How acrodermatitis is treated

Acrodermatitis will, without complications, go on its own within 4 – 8 weeks of its start, although it can last longer than this. This duration depends on the cause. For instance, hepatitis B-induced acrodermatitis can take longer than 6 months for a full recovery. And this category of people rarely will develop acrodermatitis again after this instance.

Notwithstanding, your doctor must diagnose the real cause of the problem. This determines the course of treatment. It should be attended to promptly.
Hydrocortisone creams help manage to itch. If your child has allergies, antihistamines might be recommended.

Treatments will relieve your child’s symptoms. There are no associated long-term effects.

Preventing acrodermatitis

Acrodermatitis is a viral infection. So, avoiding a viral infection is the best way to prevent it. Teaching your kids to wash their hands regularly and showing an example to them will go a long way in preventing its contraction.

Contacts with sick people should also be avoided as much as possible.

Should any of your kids start manifesting any of the symptoms highlighted in this article, do not hesitate in seeking medical help.

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