HEALTH FOR CHILDREN: HOW TO TREAT SCABIES?

Scabies is an irritating, itchy rash caused by a tiny mite. The burrowing and egg-laying of these mites produce a rash that nearly always affects the hands and fingers, particularly the clefts between the fingers. It may also affect the ankles, feet, toes, elbows, and the area around the genitals. The symptoms of scabies may take up to six weeks to appear. When the eggs hatch, they are easily passed on from one person to another by direct contact. They can also be picked up from bedding that is infested with the mites.

Possible Symptoms

  • Intense itchiness
  • Fine, short lines that end in a black spot the size of a pinhead, most often found between the fingers
  • Scabs on the itchy areas

Is it serious?

Scabies is not serious, but it is contagious, and can run through a family or a school class if not treated promptly.

What should I do first?

  1. If your child is scratching a lot, look for the fine lines of the mites’ burrows.
  2. If you suspect scabies, keep your child away from school until you have administered the treatment.
  3. Try to discourage her from scratching. This may hinder the doctor’s diagnosis, and cause sores to form that could become infected.

Should I seek medical help?

Seek medical advice if you suspect scabies, or if your child is scratching a lot.

What might the doctor do?

  • Your doctor will prescribe a lotion to be applied in sufficient quantity for the whole family to be treated.

What can I do to help?

  • After thorough washing, apply the lotion that your doctor has prescribed on the whole body below the neck, and let dry. Don’t wash it off for at least 24 hours. To ensure that you have completely cleared the mites, repeat the procedure for another 24 hours in a day or two.
  • Do the treatment for other members of the family simultaneously.
  • Launder or air all bedding and clothing to eradicate the mite. It does not live longer than five or six days after it is removed from human skin.

HEALTH FOR CHILDREN: HOW TO TREAT INGROWN TOENAILS?

When a toenail fails to grow straight out from the nail bed, but instead curves over into the sides of the toe, it is referred to as an ingrown toenail. This occurs most often on the nail of the big toe, and causes pain and discomfort. An ingrown toenail is more likely to occur if the toe is broad and plump, if the toenail is cut down at the sides instead of straight across, if it is small, or if tight shoes and socks have pushed the nail into the skin. If left untreated, the nail will penetrate the skin, possibly becoming infected, causing painful inflammation and a discharge of pus around the edges of the nail.

Are they serious?

It can be very painful, but it is not usually serious.

What should I do first?

  1. Examine the skin around the nail to see if the nail has penetrated the skin.
  2. Cut a tiny V shape in the top edge of the nail to relieve pressure on the sides of the nail.
  3. If there is any sign of redness or pus, apply a sterile dressing to the toe.

Should I seek medical help?

Seek medical advice if the nail has penetrated the skin, if you notice any redness or pus around your child’s toenail, or if ingrown toenails are a recurrent problem.

What might the doctor do?

  • Your child may be prescribed oral antibiotics to clear up the infection.
  • If the problem seems to be recurrent, you may have to consult a surgeon, who will examine your child’s toe and see whether the ingrown edge of the toenail should be removed. This is not a serious operation.

What can I do to help?

  • Whenever you cut your child’s toenails, trim them straight across, and not too short. Also, cut them regularly.
  • Make sure her shoes and socks are not too tight; allow her space to wiggle her toes.
  • If her toenail becomes infected, don’t put socks on her; cut the toe out of an old shoe, or let her wear sandals while the infection is clearing up.

HEALTH FOR CHILDREN: HOW TO TREAT HIVES?

Hives is a skin condition. The rash that results is easy to recognize: the skin erupts into white lumps on a red base, known as welts. The welts can be as small as pimples, or may be inches across. Hives can be caused by skin contact with an allergen, such as primulas, or it can result from eating certain foods, such as strawberries or shellfish, or from taking certain drugs, particularly penicillin and aspirin. Hives is common after a nettle sting. Each crop of welts is very itchy and lasts up to an hour. It then disappears, to be replaced by more welts elsewhere.

Is it serious?

Hives is not serious, but if it appears on the face, especially in or around the mouth, and is accompanied by swelling, you should dial 911 for emergency help. This allergic reaction is known as angioneurotic edema, and if the swelling spreads to the tongue or the throat, it can cause severe breathing problems.

Possible Symptoms

  • White lumps on a red base
  • Extremely itchy rash
  • Welts that disappear within an hour or so to be replaced elsewhere by other welts
  • Swelling on the face

What should I do first?

  1. Apply calamine lotion to soothe the skin.
  2. Give your child a warm bath to relieve itching.

Should I seek medical help?

Call for emergency help if hives on your child’s face cause swelling, particularly in and around the mouth. Call your doctor as soon as possible if the welts have not disappeared after several days, or if your child is miserably itchy.

What might the doctor do?

  • Your doctor may prescribe antihistamine medicine to relieve itchiness.
  • Your doctor may give your child an injection of adrenalin if the swelling is causing breathing problems.

What can I do to help?

If your child has frequent episodes, make a note of any new foods he might have eaten. If it is not an essential food for a growing child, you can exclude it for a week or two, then reintroduce it and watch for a reaction. Make a follow-up appointment with an allergist.

HEALTH FOR CHILDREN: HOW TO TREAT ECZEMA?

Eczema is an allergic skin condition which produces an extremely itchy, dry, scaly, red rash on the face, neck, and hands, and in the creases of the limbs. The most common form of eczema in children is atopic eczema, which usually develops when a baby is about two to three months old, or at around the age of four to five months, when solid foods are first introduced into his diet.

 

Certain dairy products, eggs, and wheat, and skin irritants such as pet fur, wool, or laundry detergent, are among the main causes. An episode of eczema can also be triggered by stress, or an emotional upset of any kind. It is quite common for eczema to be followed by other allergic complaints such as hay fever and penicillin sensitivity. It is also common for a child with eczema to suffer from asthma. Although most children grow out of eczema by the age of three, the allergic conditions may remain.

Another form of eczema, known as seborrheic eczema, occurs most commonly on the scalps of young babies (cradle cap), on the eyelashes and eyelids, in the external ear canal (otitis externa), and in the oily areas around the nostrils, ears, and groin. Seborrheic eczema is not as itchy as atopic eczema and responds well to treatment.

Possible Symptoms

  • Dry, red, scaly skin, which is extremely itchy. The rash usually starts off as minute pearly blisters beneath the skin’s surface
  • Sleeplessness if the itchiness is very bad

Is it serious?

Although irritating, eczema is not serious.

What should I do first?

  1. If your child is scratching himself, inspect his neck, scalp, face, hands, and the creases of his elbows, knees, and groin for any rash.
  2. Keep his fingernails short to minimize the possibility of breaking the skin. If the skin becomes broken, put mittens or gloves on him to prevent him from scratching the affected area.
  3. If you’ve just started weaning your breastfed child, return to breast feedings until you see your doctor. If you have been using certain formula, follow that formula.
  4. Apply an oily calamine lotion to ease irritation and soothe the skin. Don’t apply any astringent lotions.
  5. Stop washing your child with soap and water since it removes oils from the skin. Use cleansing creams instead.
  6. Put bath oil in his bath water to soothe the skin.

Should I seek medical help?

Seek medical advice if you suspect your child may have eczema.