Child Health

Skin Conditions

Content:

  • Ringworm
  • Chickenpox
  • Impetigo
  • Folliculitis, furuncles, and carbuncles
  • Pediatric blisters
  • Contact dermatitis

 

Some skin infections are minor, while others can be life-threatening.  Their symptoms and severity varies and more often than not, parents are usually able to know as soon as their little one develops a skin condition. Whether it’s a rash, bump, red mark, or swelling.

In this article, we will shed light on some common skin conditions that affects children, so as to help parents and care givers identify them as soon as possible. Remember to always consult with a doctor if you have any concerns.

1.Ringworm

Ringworm or tinea which  has nothing to do with worms is a skin disorder caused by a fungus that infects the skin and causes a scaly round patch on the infected area. It is called ringworm because the infections tend to form round spots that, as they grow, become smooth in the center but keep an active red scaly border.

Ringworm (especially scalp ringworm) is known to be highly contagious and can spread just by coming in contact with items that have come in touch with the infected area (such as sharing hats, combs, brushes and so on). If ringworm is found on any other part of your child’s body, then he just may have gotten infected by a dog or cat.

Types of Ringworm

  • Athlete’s foot (tinea pedis or foot ringworm). This type of ringworm affects mostly teens and adult males. Children are not known to have it. 
  • Jock itch (tinea cruris or groin ringworm). This is also most common in males and occurs during warm weather conditions.
  • Scalp ringworm (tinea capitis)It occurs mainly in children between the ages of 2 and 10, but rarely in adults.
  • Nail ringworm (tinea unguium). Nail ringworm is an infection of the finger or toenail, characterized by a thickened, deformed nail.
  • Body ringworm (tinea corporis)
    This skin infection is characterized by a ring-like rash on the body or the face. This occurs in all ages and is more common in warmer climates.

Treatment

Ringworm is known to reoccur specifically because the fungi that causes it can live indefinitely on the skin, and so treatment may need to be repeated. The treatment is based on the type of ringworm your child has, the age of your child, the location of the ringworm, and other factors the doctor will determine are relevant.

It is normally treated by applying an antifungal cream to the infected area until the infection resolves. A small amount is applied two or three times a day for at least a week, during which time some clearing should begin. If there are any patches on the scalp or more than one on the body, or if the rash is getting worse while being treated, consult with your child’s doctor.

Prevention

To help prevent ringworm, check your pets (if you have any) for signs of ringworm and treat quickly. Any family members, or friends who show symptoms of ringworm should also be treated.

2.Chickenpox

This is a viral infection caused by a virus varicella that causes fever and an itchy rash with spots all over the body. This skin condition which was once very common amongst young children is now less frequently seen as a lot of children now have access to vaccinations. The rash that occurs appears as a mix of blisters, spots, and lasts for a little more than a week in most people.

Chickenpox is highly contagious and babies are known to contract it if they are exposed to it. Some babies are able to have a mild case of it if they have passive immunity from their mothers.

Another way infants get chickenpox is if they come in direct contact with the fluid that oozes out of the blisters of shingles. The same virus that causes chickenpox causes shingles.

Symptoms of chickenpox in babies include:

  • Coughing
  • Fatigue
  • Over sleeping
  • Poor feeding
  • Fever

In most cases, these symptoms usually start before the chickenpox rash starts to appear. The red, very itchy rash often starts to show on the torso, stomach, scalp, or face. An all-over rash then follows. 

Chickenpox is highly contagious even before the rash shows up. Children are usually advised to stay indoors and rest until the rash is all gone and all blisters have dried up.

Most people who get the chickenpox vaccine will not get chickenpox. Doctors recommend that kids get the chickenpox vaccine as:

  1. a first shot when they’re 12–15 months old
  2. a booster shot when they’re 4–6 years old

People 13 years of age and older who have never had chickenpox and aren’t vaccinated should get two doses of the vaccine at least 28 days apart.

Kids who have had chickenpox do not need the vaccine — they usually have lifelong protection against the illness.

Treatment

Since chickenpox is caused by a virus, antibiotics can’t be used to treat it, but antibiotics can be used if a bacterium infects the sores.

  • Use cool wet compresses or give baths in lukewarm water every 3–4 hours for the first few days.
  • Pat (don’t rub) the body dry.
  • Put calamine lotion on itchy areas (but don’t use it on the face, especially near the eyes).
  • Ask your doctor or pharmacist about pain-relieving creams to apply to sores in the genital area.

Never give aspirin to kids with chickenpox. It can lead to a serious illness called Reye Syndrome.

3.Impetigo

Impetigo is a contagious skin infection of the skin caused by bacteria. It is sometimes confused with other skin infections. It can develop  in any skin injury, such as an insect bite, or break in the skin. Impetigo can be spread throughout a households, with children often reinfecting themselves or other family members.

The rash that occurs due to impetigo looks oozy, blistery, and red and eventually develop a yellowish crust. 

Impetigo is spread by contact and often, scratching makes it worse. It occurs anywhere on the body.

  • Red pimples 
  • Fluid-filled blisters 
  • Oozing rash covered by crusted yellow scabs

How you can help your child

  • Get to the doctor
  • Keep infected area clean with a mild soap and water
  • Cover infected area loosely. Covering helps prevent the infection from spreading to other people
  • Cover sores until they are completely healed
  • Trim your child’s nails to prevent your child from scratching
  • Wash your hands properly after cleaning sores
  • Do not permit sharing of towels
  • Watch the rash for signs of improvement or if its getting worse

4.Folliculitis, Furuncles and Carbuncles

Folliculitis is an inflammation of a hair follicle, while Furuncle, also known as boils is an infection of the hair follicle that goes into the deeper layers of skin and forms a small pocket of pus. Carbuncles is a group of infected hair follicles with pus. It is larger and deeper than a furuncle.

Any of these can occur anywhere on the skin where there is hair (where rubbing and sweating also occurs), such as armpits, neck, face, waist, groin, thighs or buttocks.

Staphylococcus aureus is known to cause these infections, but other bacteria can also cause them.

Folliculitis, furuncles or carbuncles can happen to anyone and children with certain conditions are more likely to have it. Some of the conditions include: other skin conditions, diabetes or a weak immune system, skin injuries, or is getting IV medicine.

Symptoms vary and can include a single lump or bump, or a group of bumps. These bumps can be red, swollen, painful, and leaking fluids (pus). Other symptoms include fever and chills, fast heart beat

Treatment

The treatment will depend on the severity of the condition and on the symptoms your child is exhibiting. Most times, folliculitis and mild furuncles may go away with no treatment. Using warm cloth may help ease the symptoms.

Severe furuncle and carbuncles are mostly treated by draining the lesion. A licensed healthcare worker cuts into the lesion and drains the pus inside. Your child may also need to take antibiotics

Prevention

To help prevent these infections,

  • Have your child stay away from others with these infections
  • Encourage your child to wash his or her hands often
  • Keep any skin injuries clean
  • Cut your child’s nails short
  • Do not share razors 

5.Pediatric blister

A blister is a round bump found on the skin which normally contains fluid (either a clear fluid or a bloody fluid).

There are several causes of blisters in children:

  • Sunburns
  • Contact dermatitis
  • Impetigo
  • Viral infections such as chickenpox
  • Friction on the skin

Treatment

As blisters can often mimic symptoms of other skin conditions, it is best to consult with a doctor to determine the cause of the blisters if they do not heal on their own. To help your child through this, there are certain things you can do.

  • Apply a cold pack to reduce swelling and discomfort
  • Wash the affected area with soap and water
  • Keep the area clean and dry 
  • Do not burst the blister
  • When the blister bursts on its own, place a bandage on it to keep it clean and uninfected
  • Wash the area of the blister for signs of infection such as warmness, swelling, redness, pus formation, or pain.

6.Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis is a reaction that occurs when skin comes in contact with certain irritants. It appears as a collection of small bumps on a skin surface. The irritation can be caused by certain foods, lotions, chemicals, perfume. Sometimes people confuse contact dermatitis with impetigo, as they appear to look similar. The rash starts to appear within two days of exposure, and can last as long as the contact continue.

The most common causes of irritants to children include the following:

  • Soaps
  • Saliva
  • Different foods
  • Detergents
  • Baby lotions
  • Perfumes

Other materials that may also cause contact dermatitis include plants, metals, certain medications, and cosmetics. Plants such as poison ivy is a common cause of contact dermatitis. Other metals such as nickel, chrome, and mercury found in costume jewelry, wristwatches, zippers, belt buckles can cause skin reactions in children who are sensitive to nickel.

Medications such as Neomycin, which is found in antibiotic creams, is a common cause of contact dermatitis, many types of cosmetics can also trigger the reaction.

The contact area is usually the area with the most severe reaction. Other symptoms may include: redness and swelling of the skin, itching. The symptoms of contact dermatitis can resemble other skin conditions, so always consult a physician for the correct diagnosis.

Treatment

The best and easiest treatment is to identify and avoid the substances causing the allergic reaction. The use of wet, cold compresses can help relive the inflammation if blisters get broken.

Wash skin and all items of clothing that may have come in contact with the irritant with soap and water.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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