Common baby skin allergies

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An itching, crying baby would break any mother’s heart. Here are the most common skin problems and how to treat them.

Eczema:

This allergic condition appears occasionally when a baby changes from breast milk to formula, or starts eating solids.

It’s a scaly, itchy, red rash which often starts on the cheeks and spreads to behind the ears, neck, arms and legs.

If your baby develops any of these symptoms see your GP, who can prescribe treatment.

Take note of what your baby eats and possibly omit a certain food, if you realise one of them triggers a rash.

Keep baby’s fingernails short and put mittens or socks on his hands to prevent scratching.

Keep baths down to three times a week, as water can aggravate dry skin.

Use soft cotton clothing and bed linen (avoid synthetic, scratchy material) and keep clothing loose.

Wash your baby’s clothes with non-biological enzyme free washing powder.

Scrapes and cuts:

If the wound doesn’t appear to need stitches and isn’t bleeding heavily, wash it gently with sterilised water, then pat dry.

Apply an over-the-counter antibiotic ointment or cream and cover with a Band-Aid.

If you notice any signs of infection (such as redness, swelling or a pus discharge), see your GP.

Minor burns:

Run cool water over the affected area to soothe pain (don’t apply ice – it damages skin tissue, causing more discomfort).

If blisters appear, don’t drain them – open ones are easily infected.

If the burn is severe, seek professional help.

Sunburn:

When outdoors, infants and toddlers should always be protected from the sun with a hat and sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30 (sunscreen isn’t recommended for infants under six months of age; instead, keep your baby out of direct sunlight and dress him in protective clothing).

If your baby gets sunburn, soothe it with an aloe vera based cream. You could also administer over-the-counter pain relievers.

If vomiting or fever occurs, it means the burn is severe and you should see your GP.

Bug bites: 

Most insect bites and stings resemble firm, raised bumps. Treat a bee sting by first gently scraping out the sting with a sterile pin or tweezers then put a cold compress on the area to relieve pain.

(Note: Many children are allergic to bee stings: if rapid swelling or wheezing occurs, get medical help immediately.)

Mosquito bites are especially common in babies – they are actually attracted to the haemoglobin in infant blood.

Clean and dry the bite, then apply an itch-relieving ointment, such as calamine lotion.

To prevent your child from scratching, keep his fingernails short and keep them clean.


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