We all love a warm, sunny day, but when it comes to your baby’s sensitive skin in Summer, you’ve got to be extra careful.
Here are four common skin problems that can affect your baby and how to treat them.
The Summer months can have an effect on your babies skin in several ways.
1. Eczema flare-ups
Although genetics is one of the main components of eczema, the environment plays a big part too.
The hot weather conditions in summer can cause eczema flare-ups due to moisture, heat and clothing friction.
Eczema looks like dry, rough and sometimes red, scaly, irritated skin. The biggest clue that it is eczema, though, is that it is a stubborn rash and will come back when other rashes clear up.
For babies less than 6 months old, it usually appears on the cheeks and forehead. For babies 6 to 12 months old it is often on their elbows and knees and for children 2 years and older it is often seen in the creases of the elbows and knees, the wrists, the ankles, and hands.
How to prevent and treat eczema:
Moisturise – Use a good moisturiser and apply it regularly. At the first sign of any dryness or irritation, swap from a cream moisturiser to a hydrating ointment as they are made with 80% oil, as they are the most moisturising.
Chemical free suncream – Babies six months and older can use sunscreen. Be sure to look for a sunscreen without chemicals so sunscreen is not irritating to your baby’s skin. The active ingredients of these sunscreens are usually zinc oxide and titanium dioxide and act as physical barriers to the sun’s harmful rays.
Rinse after swimming – If you happen to take your baby for a dip be sure to rinse irritating pool chemicals off afterwards to help prevent irritation. Just rinse with clear water and apply a cream or ointment moisturiser.
Stay cool – In the evening, keep your air conditioning or fan on to prevent your baby from sweating at night. Also be sure to dress your baby in light cotton pyjamas and have plenty of nappy-free time during the day.
Bathe daily – Use soap-free washes and taking showers rather than baths where possible. Keep baths short (less than 10 minutes) and use warm, not hot, water so they are less drying.
When the eczema is resistant to the above treatments, a topical steroid may be required. This should only be used under medical supervision.
Wanting to show off your little one’s chubby arms and dimpled knees in an adorable teeny tiny swimsuit is tempting but with warm weather, exposure comes extra risks to your baby’s tender skin, including the most harmful – sunburn. Most sunburns make the skin red, warm and painful.
How to protect your baby from sunburn
Stay inside during hottest part of the day – Keep your baby inside during the hottest part of the day (between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m) and schedule your outdoor play sessions during the cooler parts of the day.
Keep baby well covered – Dress your baby in a hat with a wide brim and lightweight clothing with the aim to cover as much skin as possible.
Apply suncream – For babies older than 6 months apply a child appropriate suncream before going outside.
With older babies and toddlers, put plenty of suncream on and reapply every couple of hours, especially after water play.
How to treat sunburn on babies
First, cool baby’s skin by gently applying a cold, wet washcloth for 10 to 15 minutes, three or four times a day, until the redness goes away.
Then soothe the skin with aloe vera gel or a mild hypoallergenic moisturiser.
If your child is younger than 1 year old and gets a sunburn, call your doctor.
For older kids, call the doctor if sunburn is severe, meaning it’s very red and may come with blistering, fever, chills and pain.
As long as you have the okay from your doctor, you can also offer an age-appropriate dose of acetaminophen to babies 2 months and older and of ibuprofen to babies 6 months and older.
Be sure to keep your child out of the sun until the sunburn heals.
3. Heat Rash
Also known as ‘Miliaria’, this common skin condition is more common in young babies as their sweat glands or not yet fully developed.
It shows up as tiny red bumps (and sometimes white coloured spots) on the face and neck, but it can also develop in skin folds such as those of the armpits, elbows, and thighs and can make for one very cranky child.
That’s because the bumps, which are caused by clogged sweat gland pores that trap perspiration are pretty itchy and uncomfortable. Although often itchy, will often go away with general measures alone.
How to prevent heat rash in babies and toddlers:
Keep your baby from getting too hot and bothered in the first place.
In sweltering weather, cut down on the time she spends hanging out in a sling or carrier (your body heat plus the lack of ventilation isn’t a great combo) and dress your tot in loose-fitting, lightweight clothes.
How to treat heat rash in babies and toddlers:
Lukewarm bath – Cool your tot with a lukewarm bath. Use a mild soap and eliminate any powder or lotion after, which can further block pores.
Calamine lotion – Calamine lotion can work really well to combat the itch that comes with heat rash.
The rash will usually fade within a week. Call the doctor if you see pustules and swelling (those could be signs of a yeast or bacterial infection).
4. Insect Bites
It is almost impossible for your child to avoid insect bites if you are going to be spending time outdoors with them during the Summer months but there are steps you can take to lower your risk.
Your child might not even realise they are being bitten, they will certainly know about it later when they can’t stop scratching.
How to prevent insect bites in babies and toddlers:
Avoid mosquito dens – Avoid playing with your child near small pools of water (which quickly become mosquito dens in the summer) and avoid being outside at dusk.
Cover up – The best defence is dressing your baby in lightweight long-sleeve tops, long pants, a hat and socks to ward off biting bugs.
Insect netting – You can also cover your baby’s stroller with insect netting.
Keep screen doors shut – Shut windows and doors shut.
How to treat insect bites in babies and toddlers:
Cold washcloth – Wash the area with soap and water. Then apply a cold, wet washcloth to reduce any swelling or pain.
Calamine lotion – With itchy bites, you can also use calamine lotion.
If you notice signs of an allergic reaction (such as severe pain or swelling, difficulty breathing, hives or itching all over the body), call the paediatrician ASAP.
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