What You Need to Know about Contact Dermatitis

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Two weeks ago, my son complained of an itchy palm when he woke up in the morning. I checked and saw that his right palm had what looked like insect bites. They’re red, but they’re not inflamed, and they seem to be just inside, not outside, his palm.

I showed my son’s palms to the mom of his classmate, who’s a pediatrician, and she said I should apply betamethasone on the affected areas. Thinking that what my son had were ordinary insect bites, I just let them be. Besides, since my son uses his hands to play, he’d find having medication on his hands bothersome.


However, since the redness and itchiness of his palms were still there one week after, I finally decided to take my son to his pediatrician. (Note: His left hand had contact dermatitis, too, but it wasn’t too obvious on the first day). Dr. O. checked my son’s tongue, then his hands and feet. She asked me if my son held anything “new” in the past week, like a plant.

I remember my son was holding a flower in church the previous Sunday, and he even brought that flower home and cared for it for a few days. Dr. O said that might have caused my son’s palms to appear like they had. She said my son had contact dermatitis.

However, the flower only came a day or two after my son woke up with red, itchy palms. According to my research, certain insect bites can cause contact dermatitis, too, as well as some plants. I think my son had a combination of both. Dr. O. prescribed an antihistamine syrup to relieve the itchiness and a betamethasone cream to be applied on my son’s palms during bedtime.

According to MedLinePlus, contact dermatitis is an inflammation of the skin caused by direct contact with an irritant (irritating substance) or an allergen (allergy-causing substance).

Symptoms of contact dermatitis include itching of the skin, skin redness or inflammation, skin tenderness, localized swelling of the skin, warmth of the exposed area and skin lesion or rash.

Common causes of contact dermatitis include certain plants, cosmetics, perfumes, topical medications, nickels or metals, rubber or latex, fabrics and clothing, detergents, solvents and other chemicals.

You should consult a doctor if you suspect your child has contact dermatitis.

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This blog was originally put up to document my son’s growing-up milestones, all for posterity’s sake. But there are other things to write about, aside from “mommyhood,” that merit my attention, and I’m including them all here. This blog now chronicles my life as a mom and a wife and everything else in between. For collabs, please email tgfiguerres@yahoo.com.

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