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How should I treat my daughter's skin allergy?

Q: My daughter aged 11 years has skin allergy since the past 6 months. It starts with the itching in the head and comes to other parts of the body. She is taking Cetrizine 5mg tablets. Though this provides relief, but the day she doesn't take the tablet, the allergy tends to resurface within 24 hours. I consulted a dermatologist and tried a lot of medicines but there was no relief. Cetrizine is helpful but only temporarily. I feel my daughter is becoming addicted to the medication. Please advise.

A:Itch is a feature both of eczema and of urticaria, (also known as hives or nettle rash). You don't say if your daughter has a rash, which might enable a dermatologist to distinguish between the two. Dry skin is often itchy, and this can be helped by avoiding soaps and using lots of moisturiser on the skin. If cetirizine is not helping any more, another antihistamine like fexofenadine, loratadine or acrivastine may be effective. Patients with irritable skin often find they are more susceptible to skin irritants than those with normal skin. Scratching damages the barrier function of the skin, and should be avoided.

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