Symptoms Of Acrodermatitis: Causes, Diagnosis And Treatment

Acrodermatitis is a skin condition mainly affecting children and adolescents. It is also called by other names such as Gianotti Crosti syndrome or papular acrodermatitis of childhood. This skin disease is characterized by red and itchy rash with a flat top, abdominal distension, fever, and mild discomfort. The rash is mainly present on hands and legs with swollen and tender local lymph nodes.

Acrodermatitis is linked with other infectious diseases, mainly viral diseases such as hepatitis B, Epstein-Barr virus, mononucleosis, etc. The condition is mainly seen in children between the age of 3 months and 15 years.

The rash mainly erupts in the summer which typically last for one or two months. It is a self limited skin condition and resolves on its own. Sometimes symptomatic treatment may be necessary alleviate itching, etc.

What Are The Causes Of Acrodermatitis?

Acrodermatitis is considered to be a mild infection. The exact number of children suffering from acrodermatitis is not known, but number of epidemics of acrodermatitis has been noted by doctors. The exact reason of acrodermatitis is unclear but researchers believe it has an association with viral infections. Viral diseases typically are seen to trigger acrodermatitis.

In United States acrodermatitis is often seen in children suffering from Epstein-Barr virus. This virus belongs to herpes virus family. There are several other virus infections that may also precipitate acrodermatitis. For example hepatitis B and C virus, HIV virus, rotavirus responsible for diarrhea in children, cytomegalovirus, para influenza virus that causes flu, respiratory cyncytial virus, a common virus infection which is responsible for cold symptoms.

Sometimes, although rare vaccines used to prevent viral disease may trigger acrodermatitis as its side effect. Vaccine used for chickenpox, diphtheria, influenza, pertussis, polio have been linked with acrodermatitis.

Signs And Symptoms Of Acrodermatitis

Within three to four days of the sickness, red rash will develop on skin surface. The most common areas of rash are arms, legs, thigh and buttocks. Rash usually does not appear on belly, chest and back area. Rash moves from below upwards on the face. It also develops on the palm of hand and sole of foot. Rashes are symmetrical on both the sides of body. It means if rash is seen in one arm, the other arm will soon develop similar rash.

The red spots further aggravate and turn purple if there is leakage of blood from the tiny capillaries. Gradually fluid will collect in the rash and become tiny blisters. During this period the child may complain of pain in abdomen with mild distension.

The lymph nodes become swollen and tender. Underlying jaundice often develops in case of hepatitis infection. The skin and nails turn yellow together with urine. The symptoms often remain for 2 to 3 months.

Diagnosis And Treatment For Acrodermatitis

Doctors often diagnose acrodermatitis in children on examining the skin. Together with skin rash, the doctor may also palpate his abdomen and feel enlarged liver and tender lymph nodes. Blood tests such as liver function test, test to detect specific virus, skin biopsy all are useful investigating tools that may help to diagnose acrodermatitis. Blood test for zinc level is done to rule out one the rare but serious form called acrodermatitis enteropathica caused due to genetic defect.

Acrodermatitis is a self limited skin disease in children. The symptoms such as rash, itching, abdominal bloating etc recede in one to three months. The condition does not require any specific treatment. However, certain problems such as viral diseases that may have triggered acrodermatitis, need medical attention and treatment.

Some patients may need symptomatic treatment to relieve itching and pain over the area of rash. Creams and ointments containing steroid are applied to alleviate itching for short period of time. Many doctors also prescribe antihistamine medicines to relieve itching.

Acrodermatitis does not leave behind any scars or there is no major complication. But the condition associated with it, a viral condition must be monitored carefully.

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