Your newborn's skin is prone to all types of rashes. These rashes or red patches on skin can develop as early as when the baby is just a few days old. Generally, it is due to sensitivity to differences in environmental conditions. Most of these rashes are harmless and disappear on their own.
What Type Of Rashes Are Commonly Seen In The Newborn?
1. Neonatal Acne (Pink Pimples)
These are tiny red eruptions that develop on the baby's face within a month after birth. They occur due to exposure to maternal hormones. They last for a few weeks and settle down on their own. No treatment is required in most cases.
In babies eczema usually develops in the early phase of life, i.e. within 6 months after birth. Red, itchy patches develop on baby's arms, chest, legs, elbows and behind knees. It makes their skin dry, and it may peel off a bit. Treatment of eczema consists of change of soap, use of skin moisturisers or change of detergent for baby's clothes. In severe cases, medication might be needed.
3. Urticaria (Hives)
A red, raised itchy rash appears on the skin due to an allergic reaction. If your baby develops urticaria during or just after feeding, it may be associated with something they have consumed. Milk and egg are common allergens. Urticarial rashes are usually temporary and disappear in a very short span. Although rarely the child can develop chronic urticaria. Avoiding the allergen that is known to cause rashes is the best treatment.
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4. Erythema Toxicum
These are red spots on skin of a newborn baby that develop when they are 2 or 3 days old. It's a normal newborn rash that vanishes on its own within a week.
5. Nappy Rash
These are fiery red patches on skin near groin, around the baby's nappy area. The skin becomes irritated, red and may become painful. The easiest treatment is to keep your baby's skin dry and clean, clean it thoroughly after every passage of stool or urine, ensure the baby is wearing a fresh diaper and to use a moisturizing cream as a barrier.
6. Hand, Foot And Mouth Disease
It is one of the commonest viral infections that affects babies. It causes red patches on skin with fever; rashes are seen commonly on palms, soles and around the mouth. This also causes ulcers in the mouth. Treatment of hand, foot and mouth disease is purely symptomatic. Even if left untreated, symptoms disappear in a week's time.
7. Ring Worm
This is a fungal infection. It creates red ring-like rashes on any part of the body. Most common areas affected are the baby's scalp, feet and groin. It requires appropriate antifungal medication. Antifungal lotions and oral medication help clear the infection within 2 weeks. Scabies: Scabies is caused by tiny mites that burrow into the skin. Scabies is highly infectious. Baby's skin over the soles, armpits or genitals develops tiny red itchy spots. This also requires rigorous medical management. Moreover, it is important to treat the whole family at the same time to avoid recurrences or reinfections.
8. Slapped Cheek Syndrome
It is a viral infection that causes bright red rashes on skin of baby over both cheeks. Your child may also show fever. It is usually a milder disease and a self-limiting one. It settles on its own in a week's time.
10. Sweat Rash (Prickly Heat)
Prickly heat or sweat rash or miliaria may result from the baby's sweat. It occurs due to a block in the baby's sweat glands and can appear as red tiny blisters on the skin. This usually disappears in a few hours to a few days, without any medication.
When Do I Worry About My Baby's Rash?
You should consult a doctor, if your baby presents with fluid filled blisters or with small red-purple dots over the body (petechiae) or if any other symptoms are present along with the rash. These symptoms include fever, poor feeding, excessive crying, refusal to feed, cough or lethargy.
How To Prevent Rashes?
Most rashes are either self-limiting or allergic in nature, and can be prevented with minor changes. Some of the general guidelines to prevent rashes are as follows:
Avoid the use of strong substances like soaps and detergents, which may irritate your baby's sensitive skin
1. Avoid the use of tight clothing, which can cause injury or irritate your baby's skin
2. Change your baby's clothes and diapers frequently
3. Cut your baby's nails shorter to prevent scratch injuries in cases of itchy rashes
4. In case of an allergic rash, identify the causative agent and avoid its use
What Are The Treatment Options For Rashes?
As most rashes are harmless, short lived and self-limiting and don't require any treatment. However, some rashes may only resolve with appropriate treatment. Bacterial and fungal infections require topical antiseptic and antifungal applications, respectively, while allergic rashes may require the use of oral antihistamines. A cool bath helps in easing the itch, and after bath application of calamine lotion can help in reducing symptoms.
In case, while on treatment, if your child develops any other symptoms or if the rash is intensified, consult your physician immediately.
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