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Symptoms of Allergies and Irritants

Allergies and irritants can cause skin conditions, like eczema or hives. Here’s a guide to a few of the most common conditions and what you can do to manage them.

Eczema (also called atopic dermatitis) appears as dry, scaly skin or small red bumps that can become inflamed when scratched. A huge range of irritants can cause eczema and in many cases it will be environmental, but occasionally it results from an allergy or intolerance to food. Most children outgrow eczema; however, while your child is suffering from irritated skin, it’s best to identify and avoid known triggers.

Hives (or urticaria) is a swelling on the surface of the skin that can vary in size from a pinhead to a dinner plate. A ‘hives-style’ reaction occurs when cells underneath the lining of the skin release chemicals when irritated, resulting in itching and redness. Occasionally, hives can be caused by food and reactions generally occur within 6 hours of consumption. Keeping a food diary can be a good way to pinpoint any possible problem foods.

Nappy rash can, at times, be worsened by the introduction of solid foods. This is probably due to the changes in the digestive process caused by the new variety of foods.

For more information about diet-related skin conditions visit www.allergy.org.au or consult your GP or paediatrician.

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