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.

HEALTH FOR CHILDREN: HOW TO TREAT DIAPER RASH?

Diaper rash is a skin condition that affects the area normally covered by a baby’s diaper, and can occur whether the diapers used are cloth or disposable. There are several causes of diaper rash, but it is most commonly caused by urine and stool being left in contact with the skin for too long. Bottle-fed babies are more likely to suffer from this form of diaper rash than breastfed ones.

Diaper rash can also be caused by not drying your baby thoroughly enough after bathing. In such cases, the diaper rash is usually confined to the skin creases at the top of the thighs. If the rash covers most of the diaper area, and you use cloth diapers, it may be due to an allergic reaction to the chemicals in the laundry detergent used to wash them, or to a fabric softener. This reaction is an early sign of atopic eczema.

A rash that starts around the anus and moves over the buttocks and on to the thighs may not be diaper rash at all, but a yeast infection. 

Possible Symptoms

  • Redness over diaper area
  •  Redness that starts around the genitals and is accompanied by a strong smell of ammonia
  • Tight, papery skin with inflamed spots that have pus-filled centers
  • Soreness starts around the anus and moves over the buttocks and on to the thighs

Is it serious?

Diaper rash is not serious, and can be easily prevented and treated at home.

What should I do first?

  1. If you notice redness on your baby’s bottom, wash it with warm water and dry thoroughly. Apply an emollient cream to prevent skin irritation.
  2. Change diapers and wash your baby’s bottom at least every two to three hours, and as soon as she has had a bowel movement. Leave the diaper off whenever possible.
  3. Use one-way disposable diaper liners next to her skin, since these let urine pass through to the diaper while remaining dry. Don’t use talcum powder at all. It irritates the skin.
  4. Check inside her mouth. If there are white patches, try to wipe them off. If they leave raw, red patches, your baby has oral thrush (yeast), which may have caused the rash.

Should I seek medical help?

Consult the doctor if these measures fail to clear up the rash within a few days, or if you think your baby has thrush (yeast).

What might the doctor do?

If the diaper rash has become infected, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics. If your baby has signs of eczema, your doctor may advise you to change the brand of laundry detergent or fabric softener you use. If the diaper rash is caused by thrush (yeast), your child will be prescribed an antifungal cream.

How To Treat Foreign Object In Eye?

If a foreign object such as a speck of dust or grit enters your child’s eye, it will water and your child will not want to open it. If you can see something moving loosely over the white part, you can try to remove it. If, however, the foreign object is embedded in the eyeball or is on the coloured part of the eye (the iris), don’t touch it.

Possible Symptoms

  • Watery eye
  • Reluctance to open the eye
  • Pain and irritation
  • A visible embedded object

Is it serious?

Small specks of dust or grit in the eye are not serious since they are washed out naturally by the tears. But if your child’s eyeball is scratched, if an object has pierced  it, or if there is any kind of cut on the eyeball or eyelid, this is serious. If there is an object in the eyeball, do not try to take it out yourself. Take your child to your nearest hospital emergency department for treatment. 

What should I do first?

Look closely to see whether the foreign object is moving or embedded in the eye. Encourage your child to blink a few times—this may dislodge it, as may tears if he has been crying because of the pain and irritation. If the foreign object is embedded in the eye Do not attempt first aid treatment yourself. Keep your child’s eye closed by putting a pad over the eyelid and taping it securely in place. Go straight to the nearest hospital emergency department for treatment.

If the foreign object is not embedded in the eye

  1. Ask your child to look upward. Pull down the eyelid to see if the object is there. If it is, remove it with the corner of a clean handkerchief.
  2. Expose the area beneath the top lid by holding the eyelashes and pulling them back. Remove the object with the corner of a handkerchief. If your child won’t cooperate, you will need someone to help you. Seek medical assistance if necessary.
  3. If these methods don’t work, try to flush the foreign object out by gently pouring a glass of clean water across the open eye.

Should I seek medical help?

Go at once to the nearest emergency department if the eyeball is scratched, or if a foreign object has pierced the eye. Seek medical advice immediately if you cannot easily remove a floating foreign object from your child’s eye.

What might the doctor do?

  • The hospital doctor will remove the embedded foreign object from your child’s eye after putting drops of a local anaesthetic into the eye.
  • If the eyeball is scratched, the doctor will prescribe antibiotic drops to guard against infection and may bandage the eye to keep it closed for about 24 hours.

What can I do to help?

  • After the removal of the foreign object, the pain should ease in an hour or so. If it doesn’t, seek advice as soon as possible.

How To Treat Foreign Object In Ear?

The most common foreign objects that get stuck in a child’s ear are small items, such as beads, pushed in by the child or by a playmate. Very rarely, a small insect may fly into the ear and be trapped there.

Possible Symptoms

  • Pain and tenderness in the ear
  • A visible embedded object

Is it serious?

Any foreign object in the ear that cannot be removed easily should be regarded as serious because it may cause an infection of the external ear canal, otitis externa, or damage the eardrum.

What should I do first?

  1. If the object is small and soft, try to remove it with tweezers. If you can’t grasp it easily, leave it and seek medical advice as soon as possible.
  2. If the foreign object is an insect, lay your child on her side or tilt her head to one side with the affected ear uppermost, and pour warm water into the ear. The insect should float out.

Should I get medical help?

Follow medical guidance as soon as possible if the object cannot be removed, or if your child complains of pain and tenderness in the ear.

What might the doctor do?

After examining your child’s external ear canal, your doctor will remove the object and will treat any damage to the skin, or any infection that may have been caused by the foreign object.

What can I do to help?

Don’t let a child under three play with small objects that she could poke into her ear— or into her nose or mouth.

How To Treat Earache?

There are a number of causes of an earache. The most common is otitis media—an infection of the middle ear. Children under six are more prone to this infection, because the tube that runs from the throat to the ear—the Eustachian tube—is straight instead of slanted, and so infections of the nose and throat can easily spread to their middle ear cavity. A child may complain of an earache if he is suffering from a toothache or tonsillitis, if the glands in his neck are swollen, or if he has been out in the cold without a hat. An earache with intense pain may result from otitis externa—an infection of the outer ear—if, for example, a foreign object has been poked into the ear or if a boil has developed.

Possible Symptoms

  • Pain in the area around the ear
  • A temperature of over 98.6° F (37° C)
  • Discharge of pus from the ear
  • Deafness
  • Inflammation of the tonsils
  • Pain when the ear is touched
  • Swollen glands
  • Rubbing of the ear in a young child

Is it serious?

An earache with loss of hearing is serious.

What should I do first?

  1. Take your child’s temperature to see if he has a fever.
  2. Check if there is any discharge from the ear, and whether your child’s hearing is diminished. To do this, call his name quietly when his head is averted. See if he turns around.
  3. Examine the back of your child’s throat to see if the tonsils are abnormally enlarged or red.
  4. Check if your child has any inflammation in the outer ear cavity. Don’t put a cotton swab into the ear or use eardrops unless your doctor advises it.

Should I seek medical help?

Seek medical advice if your child complains of an earache, since most earache is caused by an infection. Consult a doctor immediately if your child is in pain, has a high fever, or if you notice any discharge from his ear. Consult a doctor as soon as possible if he is too young to tell you, and is crying, and pulling or rubbing his ear.

What might the doctor do?

Your doctor will examine your child to determine the cause of the earache. If necessary, he will recommend antibiotics.

What can I do to help?

  • Place a warm hot-water bottle, covered by a towel, next to your child’s ear, and give him child acetaminophen or ibuprofen to relieve the pain.
  • Make it sure to avoid water from entering your child’s ear while bathing him.

How To Treat Dental Abscess?

A dental abscess is a pus-filled cavity that develops at the root of a decayed tooth. In a primary tooth, an abscess can damage the underlying permanent tooth if it is left untreated. Abscesses are nearly always very painful since they are in such a confined area, and the pain does not always respond to pain medication.

Is it serious?

An abscess should be treated seriously since it causes great discomfort, and can result in a lost tooth.

Possible Symptoms

  • Red, inflamed lump on one side of the tooth in the gum
  • Throbbing pain
  • Swelling  and Tenderness and on the affected side of the face
  • Swollen neck glands
  • Feeling pain below the ear on the affected side of the face 

What should I do first?

  1. Examine the gum around the tooth and if you notice a red lump, gently feel it with your fingertip. It will be soft and spongy because of the underlying collection of pus.
  2. Give your child liquid acetaminophen or ibuprofen to try to relieve the pain. Do not use local anaesthetics, such as oil of cloves. These can damage the gum margin, leading to more dental problems.
  3. Rinse your child’s mouth with water to speed the bursting of the abscess, and to wash away any pus that has seeped out.
  4. Apply a covered hot-water bottle to your child’s cheek to soothe the pain.

Should I seek medical help?

Consult your dentist as soon as possible.

What might the dentist do?

  • The dentist will drain the pus by either opening the gum or removing the tooth if there is no possibility of saving it. Both will be done with a local anaesthetic.
  • Your dentist will prescribe a course of antibiotics to eradicate the infection. Your child may also be prescribed a mouthwash to use three or four times a day until the wound has healed.

What can I do to help?

  • Maintain regular tooth brushing to minimize tooth decay.
  • Ensure your child’s dental check-up from the age of one.
  • Cut down on the candy, sugary foods, and carbonated drinks in your child’s diet

How To Treat Conjunctivitis?

Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the membrane covering the eyeball and the inside of the eyelid which is called the conjunctiva. The inflammation may be caused by a viral or bacterial infection, or by injury from a foreign object or chemicals, or it may be the result of an allergic reaction. The eyes become red and weepy, and they can be painful, very itchy, and irritated by bright light. The condition, which may affect one or both eyes, is contagious, and can also be a symptom of hay fever.

Possible Symptoms

  • Weepy, red eyes that feel sore or itchy
  • Intolerance of bright light
  • Releasing of pus causing eyelashes to stick together after a night’s sleep

Is it serious?

Conjunctivitis is not serious, but it should always be treated by a doctor.

What should I do first?

  1. Look to see if there is a foreign object in the eye; if possible remove it.
  2. Bathe each eye with cooled, but boiled water. Use a new cotton ball for each eye, soak it in the water, and then wipe outward, start from the inner corner of the eye.
  3. If only one eye is affected, you can use an eye pad to prevent rubbing and further friction between the conjunctiva and other parts of the eye. Make sure that the eye pad itself does not aggravate the infection. Use a gauze pad held in place by a bandage.
  4. To prevent the spread of infection, encourage your child to keep his hands clean and not to rub his eyes.

Should I seek medical help?

Seek medical advice if you suspect conjunctivitis.

What might the doctor do?

  • If the condition is caused by an infection, your child may be given antibiotic eye drops or ointment to clear it. If the infection does not respond to treatment within a few days, your child may be referred to an eye specialist.
  • If the irritation is caused by an allergy, such as hay fever, your doctor will prescribe anti-inflammatory eye drops and antihistamine medication.
  • If there is a foreign object in your child’s eye, your doctor will remove it.

What can I do to help?

  • Make your child understand that to prevent the infection from spreading, he should always keep his hands clean; he should also use a separate washcloth and towel.
  • If your child suffers from hay fever, keep him away from freshly mown lawns during the worst hay fever months.

How To Treat Common Cold?

The common cold is caused by a virus that enters the body through the nasal channel and throat, and causes inflammation of the mucous membranes lining these passages. The body’s defence mechanism takes around 10 days to fight off the virus.

Possible Symptoms

  • Sneezing
  • Runny or blocked nose
  • Raised temperature
  • Coughing
  • Sore throat
  • Aching muscles
  • Irritability
  • Rhinitis

Is it serious?

A common cold is not serious. However, because it lowers the body’s resistance, complications such as bronchitis can sometimes arise. A cold should be regarded more seriously in a baby because minor symptoms, such as a blocked nose, can cause feeding problems.

What should I do first?

  1. Take your child’s temperature. If it is high (98.6° F (37° C) or more), put her to bed and bring her temperature down.
  2. Yellow discharge can indicate a secondary infection, while clear mucus could signify hay fever, so check your child’s nasal discharge.
  3. Don’t give any store-bought medicines without your doctor’s advice.

Should I seek medical help?

Consult your doctor immediately if you think your child has developed a secondary infection. If your baby is having trouble sleeping or feeding, consult your doctor immediately.

What might the doctor do?

  • Your doctor will treat a secondary infection to the cold.
  • Nose drops may be prescribed to make feeding easier. Use as directed, since overuse can damage the nose lining.

What can I do to help?

  • Ease your baby’s breathing by placing a pillow under the mattress to raise her head.
  • Give your child plenty to drink and teach her to blow her nose by blowing one nostril at a time.
  • If possible, create a humid atmosphere in your child’s bedroom.
  • Mark Vaseline on to your child’s nose and upper lip if they are sore.
  • Fresh lemon juice and water will soothe her sore throat, and clear her nasal passages.

How To Treat Otitis Externa?

Otitis externa is an infection of the external ear canal—the passage that leads from the ear flap (pinna) to the eardrum. The infection may be caused by a foreign object in the ear, by a boil in the canal, or as the result of damage to the skin from vigorous cleaning or scratching. The infection is more common in children who swim a great deal.

Possible Symptoms

  • Earache
  • Inflammation and soreness of the ear flap and external ear canal
  • Pus-filled boil in the canal
  • Discharge from the ear
  • Itchy, dry, scaly ear

Is it serious?

Since the external ear canal does not contain the ear’s delicate hearing mechanisms, the infection itself is relatively minor. However, it will always be treated seriously, because in rare cases the infection could spread to the skull bones, and possibly to the brain. Any discharge from the ear should be treated promptly since this could be a symptom of a serious middle ear infection.

What should I do first?

  1. Look into the ear canal to check for signs of infection or foreign objects. Remove objects only if you can do so easily. Don’t push or poke anything into your child’s ear, and discourage him from touching or scratching it.
  2. Ask your child to open his mouth wide to see if this causes pain.
  3. Gently pull back on the ear flap to see if this causes pain. Clean away any discharge using slightly warm water.
  4. Give your baby acetaminophen or ibuprofen to relieve pain, and place a cotton pad over the ear to absorb any discharge.

Should I seek medical help?

Seek medical advice if you notice any discharge from your child’s ear, or if you suspect infection.

What might the doctor do?

  1. Your doctor will examine your child’s ear with an instrument called an otoscope, and may clean out the ear with a probe. Antibiotic eardrops may be prescribed to clear up the infection.
  2. If there is a foreign object in your child’s ear, your doctor will remove it, or refer him to a hospital for its removal.
  3. If the pain is the result of a boil, your doctor may lance the boil and drain the pus.

What can I do to help?

  • If your child is in pain, give him baby acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
  • Avoid water from entering the ear until the infection has cleared up completely.
  • Never poke cotton swabs into your child’s ear to remove wax. They will only push it farther into the canal or damage the lining.
  • Never use eardrops unless your doctor advises them.

HOW TO TREAT NOSEBLEED

A nosebleed occurs when a small area of blood vessels on the inner surface of the nose ruptures. This can be caused by hard blowing, by sneezing, such as when your child has a common cold or hay fever, by a bump on the nose, by picking the nose, or by a foreign object in the nose; in this last instance, the blood will be accompanied by a blood-stained, foul-smelling discharge. The blood loss from a nosebleed can look very dramatic, but is usually only a small amount.

 

Is it serious?

A nosebleed is rarely serious. If your child has frequent nosebleeds that don’t stop easily, seek medical help; if his nose bleeds after a blow to the head, dial for emergency help if necessary.

  1. Don’t try to staunch the blood by pushing anything into the nostrils. Sit your child down with his head forward over a basin or sink.
  2. Apply firm pressure to both nostrils, gripping his nose between your thumb and forefinger just where the bone ends. Squeeze until the bleeding stops. Don’t let him put his head back during a nosebleed. This allows blood to drip down the back of the nose into the stomach and can cause irritation and vomiting.

 

Should I seek medical help?

Seek medical advice immediately if the nosebleed fails to stop after 30 minutes and your child is dizzy. Get help urgently if there is a foreign object in your child’s nose, or if the bleeds are frequent.

 

What might the doctor do?

  • If your child is feeling headache or blow to head, he may need to have an X-ray, to rule out the possibility of a fractured skull.
  • If the nosebleed has failed to stop, your doctor will pack your child’s nose with gauze to stem the blood flow. This will be done under a local anaesthetic. The gauze can be removed after a couple of hours.
  • If your child has a foreign object stuck in his nose, it may be removed under local anaesthetic if necessary.
  • If the nosebleeds are frequent, your child may be referred to an ear, nose, and throat specialist for assessment. If the recurrent nosebleeds are caused by a fragile blood vessel, the specialist may cauterize it. This involves burning off the end of the vessel, and is done under general anaesthesia.

What can I do to help?

  • Don’t let your child blow his nose for at least three hours after a nosebleed; the bleeding might start again.