Research out of Johns Hopkins Children's Center finds skin irritations caused by toilet seats are making a comeback with cases popping up in pediatricians' offices.
Lead investigator Bernard Cohen, M.D., says, "Toilet seat dermatitis is one of those legendary conditions described in medical textbooks and seen in underdeveloped countries, but one that younger pediatricians have not come across in their daily practice." Cohen, director of pediatric dermatology at Hopkins Children's Center, went on to say that, "If our small analysis is any indication of what's happening, we need to make sure the condition is on every pediatrician's radar."
The research, published in the February journal Pediatrics, found the culprits responsible for the re-emergence to be harsh cleaning chemicals and exotic, fashionable wooden toilet seats--especially those covered in varnishes and paints.
Cohen says children can develop irritation with repeated use of a wooden seat or repeated exposure to the chemicals. He urges pediatricians to ask about toilet seats and cleaners whenever a young child has a skin irritation around the buttocks or upper thighs.
The researchers say most cases are easy to treat with topical steroids, but that pediatricians don't often suspect the cause. They say the dermatitis can be improperly treated, leaving a child at risk for worse irritation, inflammation and pain. In some cases antibiotics may be necessary.
Missed and delayed diagnoses were a hallmark of every single case described in the research.
"Some of the children in our study suffered for years before the correct diagnosis was made," says lead researcher Ivan Litvinov, Ph.D., of McGill University in Montreal, and a student of Cohen's.
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