“Why can’t my child stop itching? Why won’t his rashes go away?” Dry, cracked, inflamed skin or rashes can be caused by many things, or can even be symptoms of a more serious illness. But what if your doctor has ruled out chicken pox or other infections? Your child looks healthy, he’s just itching a lot. It’s not life-threatening, but it’s uncomfortable.
Your child could be sensitive to a hidden allergen in your home or in his food. Rashes can happen after touching certain chemicals or substances, or eating it. Here are some common allergens that could be triggering his skin reactions.
1. House Dust Mites
Those who say they are allergic to dust are actually allergic to dust mites. According to WebMD, These are microorganisms (just ¼ millilimeters) that like to feed off dead skin cells. They don’t actually bite you, but you can develop small bumps and rashes just by coming into contact with them or with their fecal matter. Dust mites tend to burrow in fabric, such as mattresses, upholstered furniture, carpets, and stuffed toys.
To prevent reaction to dust mites, change beddings and curtains every week and dry in direct sunlight for 3 hours. Wash favorite stuffed toys often, or remove stuffed toys from the bed. Vacuum mattresses and upholstered furniture, and use rubber mats instead of carpets in your child’s play area.
Dust mites thrive in humid environments, so you may want to use a dehumidifier in your child’s bedroom or playroom.
2. Pet Dander
It’s not the animal hairs that cause allergic reactions, but the saliva, urine, and dander (dead skin cells). The most common pet allergies are dogs, cats and birds. However, there are “hypoallergenic” breeds (like shih tzus or poodles) that rarely shed and are thus less likely to cause skin reactions. Check Good Housekeeping’s list of dogs that don’t shed.
3. Laundry products
Your child may be sensitive to perfumes or optical brighteners in your detergent or fabric softener. Try switching to natural or organic laundry products, and double-rinse your child’s clothes to remove any trace chemicals.
4. Molds and Mildew
According to the Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America, mold spores can get into your nose and cause allergy symptoms. Molds and mildew grow quickly in the Philippines’ humid environment. Aside from the mold in bathrooms or other damp areas, they can also cling to the walls. But don’t just check your home – look at the spout of your child’s water jug and bath toys.
Prevent molds by improving ventilation around the house. While some disinfectants can kill mold, you can use a natural and organic spray made from tea tree oil. Wash your child’s plastic toys and water bottles in hot, soapy water and dry them completely before storing.
These pests spread bacteria, and their scent (and the dried flakes from their corpses) can cause allergic reactions. For a natural and organic cockroach-deterrent, plant citronella and used dried bay leaves.
6. Household Cleaning Products
Bent on keeping the house clean, we most probably have an assortment of household cleaning products stashed in our cabinets or supply rooms. Unfortunately, many cleaning products contain chemicals that can trigger allergic reactions. Try using natural, eco-friendly cleansers like baking soda and vinegar.
7. Skincare and beauty products
Most baby products are mild and hypoallergenic, but be careful with products you use on your older kids, too. Some kids are sensitive to artificial fragrances or colorants. He may also be sensitive to a particular plant extract, so be just as careful with natural products. Always do a skin test first!
8. Baby Wipes
Preservatives found in baby wipes might trigger skin irritations in babies and children. A study also links baby wipes with food allergies, because of the residue they leave on the skin. Choose natural wipe brands or use a damp cloth. The best way to clean your child’s hands is with soap and water.
9. Food additives
Some children are sensitive to chemicals in canned or processed food. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, some food additives that can cause reactions are:
- Food coloring like such as Tartrazine (often listed as FD&C Yellow No. 5) and Carmine (a red food coloring)
- Sulfites, which are used to prevent food from turning brown
- Nitrates and nitrites, used in processed meats and fish to prevent botulism
- Flavor enhancers like MSG
- Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) and butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), used to preserve color and texture
While these chemicals are not poisonous and are cleared by the FDA as “safe for human consumption”, some people are just sensitive to it. Try switching to organic food and drinks, and avoid processed foods for natural and homemade dishes.
About The Writer
Vix Parungao is a stay-and-work-at-home mum who hails from Bulacan. She loves spending time outdoors with her 10-year old little man, Jared. She is a voracious reader, a big Harry Potter fan, and enjoys any book written by Mitch Albom and Paulo Coelho. In her free time, she dabbles into yoga and meditation, as well as spends her time marveling at awesome calligraphy and journaling work on Instagram. She is into mobile photography, mostly taking photos of flowers, of her little man, and anything that catches her fancy. She also occupies her time trading postcards with people from different parts of the world. Between childminding and chores, she shares parenting tips, products for children, as well as her adventures and various interests, on her blog, www.mum-writes.com.
The views and opinions expressed by the writer are his/her own, and does not state or reflect those of Wyeth Nutrition and its principals.