Every skin condition has own unique management approach

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 19: Children and infants have young developing immune systems and as the system matures gradually, it would face various challenges from infective agents and allergens, sometimes predisposing the young children to a range of skin diseases.

Sunway Medical Centre, Sunway City (SMC) Consultant Paediatric Dermatologist Dr Heah Sheau Szu said every skin condition has its unique management approach.

In managing skin diseases, it is important to know the common skin conditions which are largely mild and benign, though rarely can be serious with occasional systemic involvement, she said in a statement.

“It is advisable for caregivers to refer to a medical doctor for the correct diagnosis and treatment whenever they are uncertain. Once diagnosed, patients are advised to follow the treatment plan given by the doctor.

“Avoid scratching, as this can worsen the infection and remember to always keep the infected area clean and dry. It is also best for the child to be dressed in comfortable, loose-fitting outfits to avoid friction to the infected area,” she said.

Dr Heah shared that the common skin diseases among children include atopic dermatitis (AD/eczema), sebaceous gland hyperplasia, bullous impetigo, molluscum contagiosum, scabies and diaper rash.

“AD or eczema causes inflammation and irritation with itchy, red, and dry patches. It is the most common type of skin disease in children, impacting up to 13 per cent of Malaysian children. Sebaceous gland hyperplasia presents as clusters of small white-yellowish pimple-like lesions around the nose and cheek areas of infants due to maternal or endogenous androgenic stimulation of the sebaceous gland growth.

“Bullous impetigo is an infectious skin condition presented as fluid-filled blisters often on the chest, back, shoulders, abdomen, arms and legs of children below five years old which commonly occurs following secondary bacterial infection of insect bites, chicken pox, scabies and eczema,” she said.

According to Dr Sheau, molluscum contagiosum is a viral skin infection that leads to small, flesh-coloured dome-shaped skin bumps which are near together, while scabies is a contagious parasitic infection that causes severe itching and scaly rash on fingers, web spaces, wrists, axilla and groin.

She said diaper rash on the other hand is a common condition in the diaper area resulting from prolonged skin irritation from exposure to faeces, urine and friction, adding that benign vascular lesions usually at the forehead, glabella and nape of the neck with interesting names such as salmon patch, angel kiss or stork-bite mark, are asymptomatic birthmarks and will fade with time.

Dr Heah also reminded that all medical conditions, including children’s skin conditions, need to be managed with correct diagnosis followed by appropriate treatment and management plan.

“Inaccurate diagnosis can lead to improper treatment which may be ineffective, delay recovery or even be potentially harmful. Some skin conditions, like atopic dermatitis, can have various presentations and might be confused with other conditions. The similarity of many skin conditions can make diagnosis difficult sometimes,” she said.

Dr Heah added that the treatment for skin diseases in children will vary depending on the specific conditions.

“For example, skin conditions like a salmon patch and sebaceous gland hyperplasia are not infectious and can resolve naturally while scabies is infectious and the whole family needs to be treated,” she said.

All children deserve the best expert care for their diseases, Dr Heah said. Children’s skin disorders can be managed with accurate diagnosis and effective treatment.