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A to Z: Panniculitis, Popsicle

May also be called: Cold Panniculitis

Popsicle panniculitis (pih-NIK-yuh-LITE-iss) is an inflammation of the bottom layer of skin in the cheeks caused by exposure to cold.

More to Know

The bottom layer of our skin, the subcutaneous tissue, is made up of connective tissue, sweat glands, blood vessels, and cells that store fat. Inflammation of this tissue is called panniculitis.

Panniculitis can be caused by a number of conditions, including exposure to cold. This is known as cold panniculitis. Popsicle panniculitis is a type of cold panniculitis that affects some infants 6 to 72 hours after they suck on a popsicle or ice cube. Popsicle panniculitis causes swelling and redness in the cheeks near the corners of the mouth.

Popsicle panniculitis is a rare condition that usually only affects infants and young children. Doctors believe this is because infants have a higher concentration of fatty acids in their subcutaneous tissue than adults do. The only treatment required for popsicle panniculitis is to remove the source of cold or limit the child's exposure to cold.

Keep in Mind

Popsicle panniculitis is a harmless condition that almost always clears up on its own within a few weeks. Children who have had popsicle panniculitis should have their exposure to cold limited until they're a little older and less at risk of a recurrence of the condition.

All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.

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