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Itching in young children

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Itching is one of the most common dermatological symptoms1, seen in practice. The causes are many but, in the majority of cases, a good history and thorough examination of the skin will suggest a cause. Occasionally, generalised itching may be a sign of an underlying systemic condition that will require further investigation.1

Itching is a distressing symptom that stimulates the desire to scratch. This may cause damage to the skin and skin condition to deteroriate, increasing the risk of secondary infection. Often the itch can lead to sleepless nights that can affect not only the child but the carers seeking to ease the child's distress. Once the cause has been determined, the aim is to resolve the underlying problem and to provide temporary relief with topical agents and/or antihistamines. This article will discuss some of the most common itchy conditions in children, including atopic or contact dermatitis, dry skin, urticaria, infections, insect bites, infestations and infection.1

Atopic dermatitis and dry skin

Atopic dermatitis affects between 15 to 20 per cent of children. Symptoms usually appear in the first two years of life, and are followed by remissions and exacerbations.2


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