Which conditions are included in the differential diagnoses of physical child abuse when burns are present?

Updated: Apr 24, 2017
  • Author: Angelo P Giardino, MD, MPH, PhD; Chief Editor: Caroly Pataki, MD  more...
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Answer

Burns

The differential diagnoses for lesions that appear as burns include, but is not limited to, hypersensitivity reaction with blistering, friction blisters, impetigo (may appear circular and be confused with cigarette burns), phytophotodermatitis (reddened areas and erosions that result from sun exposure of skin that has psoralen residue), dermatitis herpetiformis (immunobullous skin condition characterized by blisters that may erode), and folk-healing practices such as coining (rubbing of coin or spoon repetitively over the skin), cupping (application of heated cup over skin with resultant vacuum action as it cools), and moxibustion (application of heated incense to skin). The physician should look for a history supporting this diagnosis over a diagnosis of suspected physical abuse.


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