by Dr. Alicia Smit
Special Interest: Dermatology / Skin disorders
Concerned about a rash that's appeared on your baby's skin? “Oh no what's that?" you may ask. One day your baby's skin is clear and smooth but the next day there's an unknown rash, swelling or discharge on the skin.
The human skin acts as a defensive barrier against all sorts of elements, from bacteria to sun, but it takes about 2 years from birth for that epidermis to get up to speed and function effectively.
When it comes to your baby’s skin you can depend on one thing: It's guaranteed to erupt into a rash during the first year. Not surprisingly, the number of infants experiencing skin disorders is rising and over 30% of unscheduled visits to the paediatrician’s office are caused by skin problems.
The growing reality for many parents, however, is learning to help their children handle irritating skin disorders. Although many parents have found ways to temporarily suppress symptoms, many have now become determined to resolve their child’s skin condition altogether. Eliminating a skin condition takes a great deal more effort than suppressing the symptoms, but the reward is once again seeing that perfect, baby soft skin on your child.
With infant skin care, the saying is "less is more."
1. Nappy RasH
Of course, no baby escapes the most common skin issue--nappy rash. The diaper area is warm and moist, while adding irritating poop or urine and you've got the perfect environment for breakouts.
A yeast nappy rash can also happen if your baby is taking antibiotics as they kill the good bacteria that normally keep the yeast in check.
Yeast is a fungus that lives on your skin and in the intestines, and when you have a warm, moist environment like in the nappy area, it can cause a bit of a rash. The rash will begin as tiny red spots that multiply and mass into a solid red blotch which may include pus-filled bumps.
Milia normally appear a couple of days or weeks after birth since the oil glands on your baby's face is still developing.
Approximately 40% of infants develop milia.
Milia are tiny, white spots that may appear usually across your baby’s nose, cheeks, chin, forehead, or around the eyes.
Milia looks raised, but if you touch them, they will feel smooth and flat.
Your baby's milia spots should clear up on their own within a month or six weeks.
3. Molluscum contagiosum
Molluscum contagiosum is a viral infection that causes a mild skin rash. It is spread by direct contact with the lesion of an infected person/baby or by contact with a contaminated object.
If infected with the virus, your baby is most likely to get these spots on the belly, chest, around the bottom and genital area or on the inside of joints (such as on his inner elbows and behind his knees).
Molluscum contagiosum looks like shiny pink pearls with a dimple in the middle or a pus-filled centre. They can range in size from 1mm to 10mm across and can continue to grow over several weeks, there are rarely more than 20 spots on the body.
Don’t worry it usually clears up within 18 months without treatment. If the lesions are itching, bleeding, or making your baby uncomfortable make an appointment with your Homeopath.
Eczema can appear anywhere on a baby's body starting around 3 or 4 months, though it's not usually found in the diaper area. Up to 20 percent of babies will develop this very itchy rash.
The rash has dry, itchy, red, and cracked areas of skin, which can sometimes ooze fluid and bleed.
Eczema usually occurs in flare-ups, your baby's skin may have red and itchy patches of skin most of the time, but during flare-ups these areas worsen and may need more intensive treatment.
5. infantile acne
If pus-filled pimples along with whiteheads and blackheads, surrounded by reddish skin appears after the first few months, it's called infantile acne. The pimples are likely to appear on your baby's cheeks, but may also appear on his forehead, chin, and back.
Your baby's acne can become more pronounced when he is hot or fussy, or if his skin is irritated by saliva, milk residue, or fabric that's rough or that's been washed in strong detergent. Baby acne will go away on its own without treatment.
6. Chicken pox
The first symptoms of chickenpox can mimic any condition. It starts off with a fever, nausea, headaches, muscle aches and a loss of appetite, which can last for two weeks before the rash appears.
A chickenpox rash starts as little red spots that develop tiny fluid-filled blisters in a few hours. They will show on your baby's face and then spread to her body appearing in groups.
Chickenpox is a very contagious disease, caused by the varicella-zoster virus and mainly affects children. They will be infectious until the blisters dry out — about a week — and are covered in scabs.
It will go away on its own, but you can help to relieve your baby’s symptoms.
7. Cradle Cap
If your baby has cradle cap, it will look like a very bad case of dandruff. It is common in newborns, and can show up as a red area on your baby's scalp, covered with greasy, yellow, scaly patches. The condition isn't painful or itchy. Over time the scales can start to become flaky so they rub off easily, just like dandruff, but often with bits of your baby's hair attached.
Cradle cap can cover the whole of your baby's scalp. It can also appear on your baby's face and neck, and around her nappy area, armpits, and nose.
The cause of cradle cap is not known. One contributing factor may be hormones that pass from the mother to the baby before birth. These hormones can cause too much production of oil (sebum) in the oil glands and hair follicles. Cradle cap usually clears up on its own in a few months.Cradle cap isn't contagious, and it's not caused by poor hygiene.
8. hand, foot and mouth disease
Hand, foot and mouth disease is a mild illness caused by one group of the coxsackie viruses. It gets its name from the little small, blister-like sores that develop on the hands and feet, and in the mouth.
The blisters in the mouth can be very painful and your baby may not want to drink or eat, accompanied with a mild fever for a day or two and a general unwell feeling.
Hand, foot and mouth disease is very contagious and easily passes from person to person. It usually takes between three to five days for symptoms to appear once your baby is infected. Hand, foot and mouth disease will be uncomfortable for your baby, but rest assured that it’s not a serious illness.
You’ll probably want to call your Homeopath, to check and confirm that it is hand, foot and mouth disease.
Measles is caused by the rubeola virus, the signs and symptoms appear 10 to 14 days after exposure to the virus. Appearance of events:
However, occasionally measles can cause other problems such as: diarrhoea, vomiting, an ear infection, an eye infection, febrile convulsions and laryngitis.
Pulsatilla 1M and Morbillinum 200CH are used as homoeopathic prevention for measles instead of the MMR vaccine. If your baby has measles, consult with your Homeopathic practitioner immediately. Depending on your child’s personal case the Homeopath will decide on which homoeopathic remedies to give.
10. Rubella / german measles
Milder Measles – only lasts three days.
German Measles is a contagious viral infection best known by its distinctive red rash. German Measles is caused by a different virus than measles, and is neither as infectious nor usually as severe as measles.
Mild fever, Headache, stuffy or runny nose, inflamed red eyes and enlarged tender lymph nodes at the base of the skull the back of the neck and behind the ears.
The rash is a fine pink rash that begins on the face and quickly spreads to the trunk and then the arms and legs, disappearing in the same sequence.
Dr. Alicia Smit
For more information or to make an appointment with Dr. Smit, please contact us on 012 460 9216
Richard P. j. b. Weller, J. A. A. Hunter, Mark V. Dahl; Clinical Dermatology 2008; 81.
Dr. Marike de Klerk