Common Skin Problems in Infants

(Video uploaded 02/2013)


Title´╝ÜCommon Skin Problems in Infants

Heading: Common Skin Problems in Infants

Narrator: Welcome and thank you for watching the slideshow on common skin problems in infants. In the 10 minute presentation you can learn from an experienced nurse Mary from the Maternal and Child Health Centre about the care of some commonly encountered skin problems in young babies including Diaper Rash, Heat Rash, Seborrheic Dermatitis and Atopic Infantile Eczema.

Narrator: Diaper rash

Anna: Hi Mary , why is Kelly's bottom so red?

Nurse Mary: Let's have a look. Ah, she's got diaper rash.

Anna: What is diaper rash?

Nurse Mary: Diaper rash appears when the baby's skin is irritated by urine and faeces. It mostly occurs on areas covered by the diaper like the genital area buttocks, lower abdomen and the upper part of the thighs.

Sub-heading: Appearance of Diaper Rash

Nurse Mary: It starts as red spots and develops into patches of small and raised reddish rash. The redness can sometimes spread over the whole bottom

Sub-heading: Care of Diaper Rash

Anna: I see, So what should I do?

Nurse Mary: Most important is to keep her buttocks clean and dry. You can change the diaper frequently and use lukewarm water and cotton wool to clean her buttocks each time. Then allow her skin to air dry fully before putting on a new diaper. A thin layer of moiturizing cream can be applied to keep the urine and faeces from direct contact with the skin. Or you can apply some barrier cream like zinc oxide cream to form a protective coating on the red and raw skin. Remember not to use baby powder as it will clog the sweat pores when mixed with urine or sweat and it may worsen the condition. Consult your doctor if there is no improvement or if the condition is severe.

Narrator: Heat rash

Sub-heading: Heat Rash/ Prickly Heat

Anna: Mary, there are lots of red spots at the back of Kelly's neck. What are they?

Nurse Mary: That's heat rash. Well, when the baby is too hot, they will sweat. The sweat then causes irritation to the skin and forms these small raised red spots. Heat rash usually occurs on the baby's neck, back and chest especially in hot weather. However, it may appear even in cool weather if Kelly is wrapped in excessive clothing

Sub-heading: Care of Heat Rash

Anna: Then what should I do?

Nurse Mary: Don't worry. Simply clean the sweaty skin with water dress her in appropriate clothing to keep her skin cool to reduce sweating. The heat rash will then disappear quickly. But if there is no improvement or if it gets worse bring her to your doctor.

Narrator: Seborroeic Dermatitis

Anna: Mary, I wash my baby's hair everyday but there are still lots of yellow patches sticking to her hair. Is that a problem?

Nurse Mary: That's called Seborroeic Dermatitis or better known as cradle cap. The exact cause is still not clear but it usually appears when the baby is around 3 weeks to 3 months old. In most cases it will fade gradually at around 6 months of age. The baby's skin appears slightly red with lumps of small oily flakes or yellowish thick scales adhering to her scalp and eyebrows forming a layer of scab.

Anna: Can it occur in other parts of the body?

Nurse Mary: Yes it can. But it usually occurs in areas rich in skin glands like the scalp, forehead, cheeks, eyebrows, ears, armpits, abdomen and folds between the thighs.

Sub-heading: Care of the Seborroeic Dermatitis

Anna: The scales are quite thick and Kelly doesn't look very comfortable. what can I do?

Nurse Mary: Well, first of all you can clean her skin with water. There is no need to use soap. Then apply moisturizing cream everytime after cleaning to keep the skin moist. For thick scale on her scalp, you can apply olive oil on to the scalp and then leave it on for about 20 minutes to soften the scales. Then wipe them off gently with cotton swabs. After that shampoo her hair and use a comb to clear away the patches adhere to the hair. Repeat these steps if necessary. Again if the condition is getting worse or if the scalp appears red and inflamed, consult your doctor

Narrator: Infantile Eczema

Sub-heading: Atopic Dermatitis/Infantile Eczema

Anna: Mary, Kelly's skin was fine during the first two months but recently her face appears quite red and rough. What's happened?

Nurse Mary: Let's have a look. Oh, it is eczema what we call infantile eczema. Infantile Eczema usually occurs when the baby is around 2 to 3 months old. It usually appears on the cheeks, elbows, knees, body and folds between the thighs. But the affect areas may vary if your child is older. At around 2 years old, the neck and the back of the knees and elbows are more likely to be affected. The skin appears red and dry, small blisters may appear sometimes. And scabs are formed when the blisters break. The affected areas are extremely itchy and the skin becomes thick and hard after scratching.

Anna: Why does Kelly get this? Did I eat something wrong during pregnancy to trigger her skin problems?

Nurse Mary: Anna, the exact cause of infantile eczema is not known. It is believed, however to be related to some genetic factors. But it is not infectious. It's common that other family members may have allergies to certain substances such as detergents, pollen, dust or food. Or they may have atopic diseases like asthma or rhinitis.

Sub-heading: Care of Infantile Eczema

Anna: Is there an ointment that I can use? And how can I prevent Kelly from getting eczema?

Nurse Mary: Well, it is important to keep her skin clean and moist. Bathe her with lukewarm water and soap-free bathing gel. Remember to clean the folded parts of the skin. Put on fragrance-free moisturiser after bathing. Keep her nails short to reduce the chance of skin injury by scratching. Put gloves on Kelly when neccessary

Sub-heading: Progress of Infantile Eczema

Anna: When will she recover?

Nurse Mary: Every baby is different. But the condition does seem to come and go. Most skin changes appear before the age of 5 and fade away after 15. For some children it may persist into adulthood. Good skin care is important and your doctor will give you medication when neccessary.

Sub-heading: Points to Note for Infantile Eczema

Anna: Apart from that, what else can I do?

Nurse Mary: Wipe her sweat off in hot weather to avoid irritation. Apply fragrance-free moisturiser in dry weather. Choose cotton clothing especially when it's in direct contact with her skin. For clothing made from wool, silk or nylon make sure it is worn on top of the cotton ones. A caregiver should pay attention to the clothing material that is in direct contact with her skin to avoid irritation. The temperature and humidity of the environment is also important. Avoid exposing Kelly to cold wind and strong sunlight. Use a damp cloth or a vacuum cleaner to remove dust at home instead of sweeping. It is best not to keep furry pets such as cats, dogs or birds.

Anna: What about washing her clothes?

Nurse Mary: You can use gentle laundry detergents to wash her clothes but remember to rinse them thoroughly afterwards.

Anna: Is it food related? Do I need to change her formula?

Nurse Mary: The relation between infantile eczema and food is not firmly established. However breastfeeding may prevent eczema in some children. Seek advice from your doctor first before you consider to switch to a special milk formula.

Anna: Oh, I see. Thank you very much.

Nurse Mary: You're welcome.

Narrator: Should you have any other enquiries, please feel free to speak with our medical and nursing staff here at the Maternal and Child Health Centre.