Types of Skin Infections to Children

Skin infections are caused by different bacteria, virus, fungi and parasites. In this article, we will discuss the usual skin infections that a child may develop as he/she grows.

Skin Rash

Skin infections

If the skin develops a rash, the first step is to carefully monitor whether a fever emerges and under what conditions the fever appears.

If the fever and rash shows up simultaneously, be wary as the majority of cases is due to one of the skin infections. If there is no fever, it is possible that such condition is prickly heat or atopic dermatitis.

Care Points

Confirm Fever

It is very easy for babies to develop a rash within a few months after birth. Maybe the rash is due to some kind of infection or maybe it is one of the skin conditions. Because of this, in light of the skin developing a rash, the first step is to determine if there is a fever. If so, it is possible the baby is infected with some common diseases like measles, German measles, Kawasaki disease, or perhaps a sudden rash or chickenpox etc. If there is no fever but only rash, then it is most likely a skin condition. It is not suggested that the mother look too lightly on this condition, it is best to give a specialist doctor to diagnose.

Do Not Disregard

A rash is when the skin develops red coarse spots. Prickly heat, diaper rash and atopic dermatitis are all types of rash. The majority of skin conditions are all very similar and because of this, many conditions are not treated appropriately and sometimes mistaken for atopic dermatitis. Therefore, it is important for mothers not to disregard this condition. Even if the abnormality is small, it is still best to consult a doctor.

Don't Scratch

Rashes will be itchy, the younger the child the easier it is for them to scratch which will cause the condition to get worse. It could lead to an open wound which can cause a secondary infection and develop pus and scarring. It is best to cut the fingernails as short as possible and cover the child’s hand in a clot. Lower the room temperature to a cool and comfortable level.

Do Not Randomly Apply Skin Cream

Do not randomly apply skin cream. Many conditions may look the same, but on closer examination, they are actually different. The same condition in two different patients may differ according to what part of the body. Furthermore, many skin creams contain hormonal agents. When such creams are applied to poor-looking skin, the symptoms may quickly reduce but will have many side effects. So be very extra careful!

Avoid Contact with the Irritant

It is possible that due to eating solid foods, there is excess salivation which could cause the area under the chin to develop a rash. The whole body could also develop a rash due to atopic dermatitis. Mostly, this appears as an allergic reaction in children with sensitive skin. In this case, it is best to reduce contact with the irritant or even completely avoid all contact if possible. In addition, our home must be regularly cleaned, avoiding dust and dust mites. 12 months old baby and below that age especially have the habit of picking things up and placing in their mouth. Just make sure that they are being attended and given attention properly.

Do Not Irritate the Skin

When the body exhibits a coarse rash and the skin is even slightly irritated, it will become itchy. It is best that skin must be regularly cleaned and baggy cotton clothes should be worn as much as possible. Ensuring that when washing clothes they are cleaned thoroughly, and don’t leave any soap suds or detergent into the fabric.

Possible Skin Infections

Impetigo

Causes and Symptoms

This is an infectious disease caused by bacterial transmission and is more predominant during summer months. The face, body and legs will develop red blisters, develop pus and will eventually dry out and scab. Therefore, it is a purulent skin condition. This condition is caused when the skin has not been cleaned and subsequently develops pimples, or when there is a condition of the atopic dermatitis present which is scratched and infected, and develops a wound which allows staphylococcus to enter the body and causes impetigo.

In the majority of cases, blisters will develop first and later turn purulent. After the purulent blisters burst and scab, the condition will start to heal. The bacteria within the pus-filled blisters may infect other areas and continue to spread, and maybe infect other people too.

Impetigo is distinguished into two groups: bullous and non-bullous impetigo. Newborn children frequently suffer from bullous impetigo especially in the summer. After becoming infected, the symptoms will begin to exhibit 4-10 days afterwards. The face, hands and feet will develop a rash which will disappear after a few days. This will be followed by a fever or a lower body temperature than normal and defecation may turn green. Please pay special attention to the child’s condition as it may also lead to acute pneumonia and encephalitis.

The infectious blisters will develop on the areas around the nose, mouth, hands and feet and is a frequent occurrence in the humid summer season, thus it is considered a common skin condition. It may give rise to complications such as acute renal glomerular inflammation or inflammation around the eyes and lower body. The condition may also lead to hematuria or proteinuria, so the condition must be carefully observed.

Care Instructions

● The most important requirement to cure this condition is to maintain clean skin. If antibiotic cream is prescribed, it must be taken in accordance with the doctor’s prescriptions.

● Avoid scratches and clean the rash area regularly. All objects or items used by the person infected, such as towels, must be disinfected to avoid further infection.

● In order to avoid purulent scabs, maintain cleanliness of the hands, feet and skin, it is also important to trim the fingernails. If an open wound develops on the skin, it must be treated immediately to avoid bacterial infection.

● It is also useful to apply prescribed creams to the skin if bitten by mosquitoes during the summer months or if the skin develops a wound.

Seborrheic Dermatitis

Causes and Symptoms

This condition will appear on the scalp, face, behind the ears, torso, neck, armpit, etc. If sebum secretions are high, then the scalp and face are especially easy to be affected as well. A thick layer of yellow skin will develop on the scalp – this is called a “crust”. Although the cause is not certain, it is likely caused by reduced function of the sebaceous glands.

There are few symptoms other than itchiness. If the area becomes infected with bacteria, it will become purulent and develop sores. Children suffering from atopic dermatitis, bronchial asthma, allergic nasal inflammation or any allergy-related illness are very easy to become infected.

Care Instructions

● When Seborrheic dermatitis appears on the scalp, 30 minutes before washing the hair, rub baby oil or lotion into the scalp. Then as the scab starts to peel off, use normal shampoo until the scabs disappear. Another method is before washing the hair, use a hot damp towel to wrap around the head for 5-10 minutes before washing in order to assist the scabs falling away.

● Use doctor prescribed steroid creams or lotion, or use steroid spray, apply 1-4 times each day for 4-5 days and the condition will immediately improve. This condition is also likely to recur, but the likelihood of this greatly reduces after 2-3 years old.

Contact Dermatitis

Causes and Symptoms

There are two causes for contact dermatitis: irritants and allergies. The irritant type of contact dermatitis comes from frequent contact with substances that irritate the skin and anyone in this situation will develop this condition. In contrast, only very few children suffer from allergic-type contact dermatitis.

In general, contact with lacquer trees will cause this condition, along with grass, cleaning products, bleach, cosmetics, paint and medications. Symptoms in children are excessive runny nose leading to very sore skin. Any area in contact with saliva around the mouth and chin will turn red. Children with an allergic history are very easy to suffer from this condition.

Care Instructions

● Itchiness will lead to scratching and may result in an open wound. The wound will often become infected with bacteria. If so, the scab will turn purulent, develop a rash and the child will have runny nose until so sore that it is unbearable to wipe, seek medical attention.

● Especially for the allergy-type dermatitis, the first step is to remove contact with the substance causing the condition such as animal hair, pollen, dust mites and mold etc. All of which must be carefully observed.

● Sometimes toys have harmful substances that can lead to this problem, so all toys must be carefully cleaned after purchase.

● Avoid frequently washing the area of the body affected by contact dermatitis. When bathing, use a milder soap or hypoallergenic types of soap that will not irritate the skin. Avoid using talcum powder as this will also aggravate the condition.

● To relieve extreme itchiness, use cold water or ice cubes on the area. When severe, seek medical consultation and prescription of antihistamines or steroid cream will be expected.

● The situation may become more severe if the mother applies lots of cream onto the skin. Do not make self-diagnosis and treat without consulting a specialist or it will take so long to heal.

​As with the above mentioned skin infections, remember not to self-diagnose. Even with other infections. It’s still best to seek a doctor’s help.

Atopic Dermatitis

The Causes

The symptoms of this condition will recede after the baby turns one year old. In recent times, more and more cases arise wherein there are no full recovery after this age. This is mostly due to the effects of pollution in the environment.

Of all the skin conditions in children or toddler under 2 years old, over half of this is caused by food. 

Depending on the child’s foundation, some foods will cause atopic dermatitis to worsen, yet others will not. Symptoms will improve if you are able to avoid foods that aggravate the condition. As backgrounds are different, so the effect of foods is also different. However, typically speaking, milk, egg whites, peanuts and flour etc., are the chief culprits for aggravating this condition.

After 4-5 years old, the influence of environmental factors will increase. Needless to mention, harmful things such as coal fumes, but also daily contact with other factors such as dust, dust mites, pollen, bacteria or virus are all causes of infection. Genetic inheritance and stress are also factors, and there are countless other causes which give rise to different side effects.

The Symptoms

The chief symptom of atopic dermatitis is the emergence of red and coarse blisters. Those will be itchy, will leak pus when scratched, which will later turn into a white scab. Symptoms will appear on the cheeks, neck, head and ears, etc. in children under 1 year old. After being a 12 months old baby, the symptoms will move to other more visible places such as the arms and calves, etc. At 3-4 years old, the symptoms will again move to places within the folds of skin such as the inner arms, the cup of the knee and the ear lobes etc.

If scratching is hard to resist, there is a risk of a second infection which will cause inflammation and weeping skin. In case this is a recurrent condition, skin will become thick, coarse and will turn black.

Care Points

● The simplest form of treatment is to maintain hygiene and maintain moisture. Expect the skin to be itchy when it comes into contact with unclean material, sweat or food. If this is the case, use a damp cloth to wipe clean or take a shower.

● When taking a bath, warm water must be used and do not bathe for longer than 10 minutes. If possible, use specialist atopic dermatitis shower cream and a towel to avoid irritating the skin.

● After showering, ensure that the skin is completely dry before applying moisturizing cream. Some moisturizers may cause some problems, so you must choose an appropriate product for your child’s skin.

● During infancy, it is best to feed breast milk rather than powdered milk. It is best to avoid feeding egg white, toast bread, flour, etc. until after 1 year old.

● Eliminating the influence of environmental factors is also important. First, prevent contact with dust mites and mold, try to avoid using carpets and curtains, and wash and clean beddings frequently. Try to frequently have exposure to natural sunlight in order to kill viruses.

● There are creams that can be used to reduce itchiness if the condition is hard to bear, but this must only be used in accordance with a doctor’s instructions.

HFMD (Foot and Mouth Disease)

Causes and Symptoms

This is a highly infectious and dangerous airborne disease. The majority of cases are caused by the Coxsackie virus. But the symptoms also resemble Type-71 enteritis. Most cases of child infection come from a virus entering the body via hands and mouth.

If infected by the Coxsackie virus, it will be concealed 4-6 days before revealing itself. There will be fever during the initial stages along with a lack of appetite and stomach ache. A red rash will develop on the palms, flats of the feet, mucus membrane in the oral cavity, torso, buttocks, arms, legs, face and belly. Even the roof of the mouth, throat, gums and root of the tongue will develop a red rash. The rash inside the oral cavity will be around 4-8 millimeter, the rash on the hand and foot is around 3-7 millimeter.

If there is an infection of foot and mouth disease, it is possible to become infected with enteritis. Symptoms are largely similar to German measles and fulminant measles, but this disease also has a cough or runny nose symptoms. After 1 week, the spots will disappear and heal by themselves.

Care Points

● This infection is prevalent from spring to autumn. Avoid going to crowded places and wash hands immediately upon arriving at home.

● Bacteria will grow on the pharynx so it is important to frequently brush the teeth.

● If suffering with fever, take an antipyretic. In case there is no appetite or there is a stomach ache and diarrhea, an electrolyte drink, porridge or some warm food can be taken.

● Whenever the mouth is painful and food is hard to be eaten and there is no diarrhea, some cold food can be eaten. This shouldn’t cause pain.

● If children hardly bear itchiness, medicine can be applied. However, don’t use steroid cream because this will stimulate the growth of the virus.

● In most cases, there is no aftermath and the condition will naturally heal. Regardless of what virus type is present, it may sometimes give rise to conditions. This include cerebro-spinal meningitis, encephalitis or nerve palsy. It is best to consult a doctor.

Diaper Rash

Causes and Symptoms

Babies’ skin is just about a third of the thickness of adults’ skin. It is sensitive that it easily reacts if irritated. A rash will develop if the skin has continued exposure to ammonia contained within the urine and defecation from damp diapers or by using a diaper that confines air circulation. Rashes can also be caused when using baby straps and harnesses during outdoor activities.

If diapers are not frequently changed, the Candida fungus is easy to breed. It will also cause the buttocks to become inflamed. To prevent prickly heat, apply a thick layer of talcum powder. Sometimes residue from laundry powder left in the diapers will cause rashes too.

The area covered by the diaper, including reproductive organs, will turn red, swollen and itchy. If this is not treated quickly, pus will ooze out and the itchiness will become more severe. In case this transform into a chronic condition, the skin will peel and become very coarse. In the event that the symptoms worsen further, not only will the skin develop pus but it will also bleed. In this case, children will cry and fret, won’t sleep well and will have no appetite.

Care Points in General

● After urination or defecation, the baby’s rear-end must be cleaned and dried. At this time, it may also be beneficial to switch on the air conditioning or use a fan for some air circulation.

● The best treatment is to frequently change diapers or to avoid using diapers completely. If not carefully attended and the condition persists for up to a month, then this will deliberately cause hassles for the mother and baby.

● If the children are unwell or have a severe rash to the point of festering, then seek immediate hospital treatment, where they will likely prescribe a steroid cream. In case infected for the second time, antifungal drugs may be used. The mother must also follow closely the doctor’s instructions.

● Do not simultaneously use cream and talcum powder because the two will stick together and harm the skin. Apply the cream when the skin is sweating, but when there is no such, apply talcum powder.

● The most important method of prevention is to frequently change diapers, especially during blistering hot summers. After urinating or defecation, use water to clean the body. If soap is used, soap bubbles must be rinsed completely. Otherwise it may cause inflammation.

● After cleansing the skin, use talcum powder and apply to the folds of skin. Do not apply too much as this will clog the hair follicles, if this is so, dust off. Maintain clean and dry skin.

Care Points: Diaper Talk

● If using cloth diapers, when soiled they must be cleaned immediately. It is best not to soak the diapers in water for too long, and ensures that any soap used is fully rinsed. When drying the diapers, it is important to hang outside on natural sunlight, which will kill the bacteria at the same time.

● In recent years the design of disposable diapers has improved such that the air circulation is much better. If suffering from diaper rash, using this kind of diaper would yield better results.

Atopic Dermatitis

Causes and Symptoms

When sweating a lot, hair follicles and sweat glands will become blocked and sweat cannot flow out. If this occurs, red blisters will appear. When children’s body temperature is high, sweat will flow freely. Same is true when temperature regulation is not able to be controlled well or when exercise is frequent. If at this time you are in a hot and damp environment, the sweat glands are easy to become clogged. Sweat cannot flow out and prickly heat appears. Mothers always wish for the child to grow up in a warm environment. So prickly heat is not only common in summer, but winter too will have frequent occurrences.

The areas commonly affected are the forehead, neck, nose, chest, legs, etc. which will give rise to red itchy spots. Unconsciously scratching these areas will allow bacteria to enter the body and could develop yellow pus. This can be mistaken for atopic dermatitis, but prickly heat will only appear in sweaty areas and the level of itchiness will not be so severe. Simply clean the sweaty area and maintain cleanliness for the condition to improve, this will not be the case with atopic dermatitis.

Care Points

● When sweating or during hot or damp weather, do not wear too many clothes.

● Keeping cool with good air circulation is most important. Wash the skin immediately after sweating; wear sweat absorbent, cotton and loose clothing.

● If utilizing the use of talcum powder, lotions and creams in order to avoid prickly heat, this will prevent the evaporation of sweat, thus worsening the prickly heat symptoms.

● When prickly heat symptoms are severe, doctors may prescribe the use of lotions containing antihistamines or steroids. Use them accordingly as per the doctor’s instructions and try your best to avoid the condition turning into eczema.

● It is useful to massage cucumber juice into the skin. Finely chop a fresh cucumber, wrap in a gauze cloth, apply to the prickly heat areas and gently massage. To reduce skin irritation, it is best to first remove the cucumber skin. After the massage, the skin will be sticky, use water to wash it clean.

Summary

Those are the skin conditions that we should be informed about. With the care points mentioned, it would be really helpful if we follow those.

Stephanie
 

Editor in Babiology, mother of two, highly passionate about sharing the pregnancy care and post delivery care learning with the readers.

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