Most children will have problems with their skin at sometime. Rashes are caused by different things e.g. getting too hot, allergies, hives, dry skin, some diseases - measles, eczema. They are usually itchy and you want to scratch. They then can become infected by germs lying under your fingernails.
Ways to help the itch include:
· Keep your child cool and don't have them wearing too many clothes.
· Place your child in a cool bath without soap.
· Where possible cover the rash with a wet cloth.
· Applying calamine lotion may help.
· Before giving medication check with your doctor and find out the cause of the rash.
In the newborn period skin rashes can appear when they first come in contact with clothes - neonatal erythema. Their skin can be dry as they are replacing the top layer of skin after being in a fluid solution for 9 months. These conditions need no treatment.
Nappy rash can occur by irritation of the skin to the moisture in the nappy from urine. Disposable nappies have improved this condition drawing the wetness away from the skin. By not using soap and applying a zinc and castor oil cream or silicone-based barrier cream to protect the skin will help. If no improvement in the rash and you are using lanolin based wipes or lotions stop using them and see what happens.
If the rash is in the folds of the skin and looks moist an underlying thrush infection may be involved. In this case an antifungal cream might be appropriate. If no improvement in a couple of days then see your doctor who may order a different strength cream.
Eczema occurs in a lot of babies around 4 - 10 weeks of age usually on the cheeks. Itchy red areas that are usually very dry. This is due to the sweat glands adapting to life.
Eczema can last a lot longer even into adult life and affect cheeks, forehead, scalp, trunk, elbows and knees. Treatments that have been found to give relief from the symptoms include:
· Not bathing the baby every day.
· Not using soap but a cleanser containing pine tar oil.
· Not using baby lotions or creams
· Using moisturisers with sorbolene regularly.
· During breakouts a topical steroid cream is useful. Check with your doctor.
· Try to dress baby in clothes that will not irritate the skin - cotton not brushed fibres.
Cradle cap is also a form of eczema. The skin is usually very dry and scaly. It responds well to applying sorbolene or petroleum jelly to the scalp softening the scales for easier removal. A small amount of an antidandruff shampoo used occasionally may also help.
Breastfed babies have some protection against allergies. If your family history is highly allergic then breastfeeding exclusively for the first 6 months is recommended.
The immaturity of baby's digestive and immune systems can be the reason for the reaction. Breast milk speeds up the maturation of the immune system. It can protect against allergic rhinitis, wheezing, asthma and conditions that are caused by hereditary reactions to certain allergens.
To minimise the risks of allergy;
· Provide a smoke-free environment
· Exclusively breastfeed for 6 months
· Introduce solids after 6 months
· Start with rice cereal, then vegetables, fruits, meats
· Start with 1 food at a time and wait several days before adding another food
If there is a strong family history of allergies delay introducing the highly allergenic foods during the first year.
· cows milk & diary products
· soy products
· nuts & peanuts
· fish & selfish.
This is an overview of the above topics and a guide only. For more information and if you are at all concerned about your baby or toddler then speak with a health professional or your family doctor. Enjoy them as they grow rapidly.
Ask Tommee Tippee's Midwife Judy a question - www.tommeetippee.com.au/midwife-enquiry.asp