When you bring your newborn home, from the very first second, you do everything possible to keep her guarded and secure. This kind of extreme care is required as your newborn is prone to many harmful infections or diseases. Your baby’s skin is very delicate and frail. Knowledge about common baby skin allergies or infections that can affect your baby can help you to tackle this problem with ease. It will save your baby from itchy rashes, pain or scratches. You should keep in mind that these allergies are transient and harmless, and sometimes disappear on their own.
Hence, it is important to keep your baby away from germs and anything that can affect her and cause irritation or discomfort. Your baby is more prone to allergies and infections than adults. The reaction to allergens is quicker. Even a slight scratch or rash can make her grumpy and cranky.
Common baby skin allergies
Here are a few common baby skin allergies you need to be aware of:
Eczema can be noticed as dry skin or thickened skin, or there may be red rashes which are itchy and very irritable. When scratched, it oozes out skin. Eczema is more common in babies who have a family history of asthma or allergies like eczema itself. It can be limited to a certain spot or can be spread throughout the body. The face, inner parts of the elbow and chest are the common areas where these rashes can occur.
Eczema is caused by various reasons like:
• Allergens in the atmosphere, like smoke and dust.
• Heat and sweat accumulation on the skin.
• Dietary allergies, which can be direct or through your diet if you are breastfeeding your baby.
• Certain components in soaps, lotions, oils or even fibres.
Hives can be noticed by reddish, swollen blotches on your baby. This is not a serious skin allergy it can get cured within hours or may even take weeks. Though it is not infectious, it can spread to other parts of your baby’s body. Hives are usually triggered by histamine which is a chemical that is released by your baby’s body.
Probable reasons for secretion of histamine are:
• Viral Infections: Common infections like cold and flu can instigate hives, and as the infection gets cured, the allergy will also go away.
• Insect bites: The culprit may be ants, flies or any other insect bite which makes the skin react.
• Temperature changes: If it is too cold, you baby can get hives. Sudden changes in temperature also cause the release of histamine.
This is a common allergy that appears as a rash that turns reddish brown and looks like a small bump on the skin surface. This happens on areas where the skin is exposed like the neck, hands and face. This allergy can be prevented by covering your baby’s skin and using insect repellents when you take her outside.
• Papular urticaria is caused by insect bites, bug bites or flea bites.
• Some babies are more sensitive and their skin can react to such bites and develop a rash, while others won’t have any problem.
This is commonly called as sweat rash. As the name suggests, it is caused by excessive sweat secreted by the body which might cause accumulation of certain germs. It is also common in hot and humid places. It usually appears in the neck, diaper area and armpits. It can be avoided by making your baby wear light and airy clothing and by using absorbent powders. Avoid using too much powder on your baby's skin — the tiny grains of baby powder can be inhaled by babies causing them discomfort. It is better to avoid powdering until your baby is 4 to 6 months old.
Ringworm is a type of disease that usually occurs due to unhygienic habits or dry skin. It appears as dry and reddish skin on the skin. It is commonly noticed on the scalp, feet or private parts. It is caused by accumulation of sweat on the skin. It is also caused by wet patches in folds of skin. You can treat this allergy by keeping your baby’s skin moisturised and by applying anti-fungal creams.
This inevitable allergy can keep you up all night because it is very irritable to the baby. If you spot soreness and redness in the diaper area then instant action is required. Keep checking your baby’s diaper area and apply diaper rash cream on the affected area. Keep the area dry and open as much as possible. Ensure that diaper isn’t too tight or left for too long. Change her diapers frequently and keep her diaper area dry and clean.
Tips to avoid baby skin allergies
Most skin allergies can be kept at bay and treated easily. By keeping in mind a few hygiene tips, you can easily tackle baby skin allergies.
It is important to keep your baby hygienic and bathe her regularly. But do not bathe her daily with soap as it robs the skin of its natural oils, making it dry and flaky. You should apply emollients after bath to protect the skin. Keep your house clean and get rid of flies and bugs. Also maintain a comfortable temperature in your baby’s room. You should look out for dietary allergens and avoid giving food items that contain them. In case a family member has an allergy, direct contact with your baby must be avoided.
Use a very mild detergent to clean your entire baby's laundry. Ensure that even pillow covers, bed sheets, blankets and towels are washed separately. Purchase baby skin care products that don't contain dyes, fragrances, phthalates and parabens — all which could cause irritation to a baby's delicate skin. Baby skin is extremely sensitive. Hence, use warm water during bath times. It is necessary to change the diaper several times during the day to prevent the rash. Also change the diaper once or twice during the night to prevent rashes.
According to a recent study, body massage is recommended for most newborns. Gently stroke and massage your baby's skin with oil. This not only helps boost relaxation and keeps skin healthy, but is also said to lead to better sleep. You have to be observant and notice allergens that can affect your baby. Your baby may be allergic to specific substances and it is your job to notice all that. These common baby skin allergies can be treated easily at home or with the help of a doctor.