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Skin Diseases Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Rachel Torrens

Rachel is a Nurse Practitioner with experience working as a high school teacher, skin surgery center, and as a family NP.

Your skin is an amazing organ that performs vital functions for you every day, but sometimes your skin gets sick. In this lesson, learn about the different kinds of diseases that affect the skin.

The Largest Organ

The skin is your largest organ. It helps to protect your body from invaders. Different kinds of germs are constantly trying to get into your body, and your skin keeps them out.

Although your skin is a great defense shield, it can get sick. There are three broad categories of skin diseases:

  1. Allergy diseases
  2. Infections
  3. Cancers

Allergy Diseases of the Skin

Maybe you or a friend have experienced allergies with a runny nose and sneezing? Well, the skin can experience allergies too! Just like your nose and eyes get irritated by the pollen in the air, your skin can get irritated for a number of reasons.

Dermatitis is a medical condition in which the skin becomes irritated. When skin is irritated, it can turn red, form itchy patches or make blisters. For example, let's say you go for a walk in the woods. The next day, you wake up and find a red patch with blisters. Unfortunately, you have gotten poison ivy!

The oils of the poison ivy plant can cause blisters and redness, which are signs of contact dermatitis.
poison ivy rash

Your skin has become inflamed from contact with the the poison ivy. Poison ivy rash is one type of contact dermatitis. Contact with other objects, such as perfumes or certain metals, can trigger rashes in people. The point is that although the skin is strong, it can get irritated and develop redness and itching!

Infections of the Skin

Another type of disease that can affect the skin is infections. There are two major types of skin infections: those that infect the skin itself, and those that infect the body but affect the skin. Let's look at each in more detail.

Infection in the Skin

The first type of infection invades the skin itself. Let's imagine you are playing in your driveway and you fall, scraping your knee. Your mom cleans the cut and puts a band-aid on it, and in a few days, your skin is as good as new!

But let's suppose you didn't clean the cut and bandage it. After a couple days, you may notice redness and tenderness around the scabbed area on your knee. These are signs that infection is beginning in your skin.

When bacteria infects the skin, causing redness, tenderness and swelling, it is called cellulitis. Cellulitis, if not treated quickly, can become a serious problem.

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