Every parent worries about their baby catching viruses or having allergic reactions. Here's all the information you need on strange rashes or spots, how to treat them and soothe your baby
Your baby might get weird-looking rashes and spots as she grows up. Our guide will help you work out what the childhood illness could be and how to deal with it.
Red, sore patches with small lumps or blisters. Sometimes the lumps can ooze fluid and if scratched, patches of skin can become thickened. There are several different types of eczema, the most common being atopic eczema.
It can affect any part of your baby’s skin, including her face, but the areas most commonly affected are her inner elbows, behind her knees, and around her wrists and neck.
It usually starts when your baby is young. Eczema is the most prevalent skin disease in children, affecting at least one in 10 babies.
“Apply a fragrance-free emollient or moisturiser every day, or every few hours if necessary, to protect the skin and prevent it drying out,” says Nina Goad, from the British Association of Dermatologists. “Your pharmacist should be able to recommend one. Avoid detergents, soaps and bubble bath, as they can strip the skin’s natural oils.”
Find out more about eczema's causes, triggers and treatments for your baby.
Tiny white spots with a red outline (called Koplik’s spots), followed a few days later by a fine red rash that starts small and becomes blotchy.
Koplik’s spots develop in your baby’s mouth, on her cheeks. The rash typically starts behind her ears and then spreads to her body.
“Measles is not too common now because of immunisation,” says Adam Finn, Professor of Paediatrics at the University of Bristol. “But anyone who has not been properly vaccinated is potentially at risk.” Head to our baby vaccination guide for details of what immunisations you can expect.
If you think your baby has measles, you should contact your doctor. Most cases need rest, fluids and fever-reducing medicine, but in a few cases complications can occur, so be watchful.
Older children and adults with chickenpox tend to get more sick than young children, but those with weak immunity are especially likely to get seriously ill.
Adam Finn, Professor of Paediatrics at the University of Bristol
Crops of red spots, which turn into small, fluid-filled, itchy blisters that break and then scab over.
Anywhere on your baby’s body. Several crops of spots may develop over a few days.
“Anyone who has not had chickenpox,” says Professor Finn.
Normally no treatment is necessary, but your baby is infectious from two days before the rash emerges until all the spots have crusted over. Try not to let your baby scratch to avoid scarring - easier said than done sometimes! Soothe itchiness with calamine lotion.
Read more on chickenpox and your baby.
A red rash of spots that feel itchy or prickly. It occurs when pores become blocked – as your baby sweats, bumps form because blocked glands can’t clear sweat.
Anywhere on your baby’s body, but often in places covered by clothing. “It can also occur in skin creases,” says Nina Goad, from the British Association of Dermatologists.
Anyone can get it, but your baby is more likely to be affected than an adult or an older child because her sweat glands are under-developed.
“Heat rash is a sign your child is too warm, so keep her cool and make sure she isn’t dehydrated,” says Nina. It usually goes away on its own, but ease symptoms with a cool bath and calamine lotion.
Sore, angry red skin on or around your baby’s bottom and genitals, which can sometimes look pimply.
In the nappy area. When a nappy is left on too long, your baby’s skin can get sore and inflamed as the waste in the nappy decomposes.
It can happen if your baby’s nappies have been left on for too long when wet. If your baby suffers eczema or dry skin, she’ll be more prone to nappy rash.
“Never leave a wet or dirty nappy on for longer than absolutely necessary,” says Nina Goad, from the British Association of Dermatologists. “And when you change your baby, clean her skin with cotton wool and water, and use a simple nappy cream as a barrier.” It’s also good to give your baby some nappy-free time so her skin gets a chance to breathe.
Health visitor Annette Maloney suggests these five steps to help prevent nappy rash:
See our essential nappy rash facts for info more.
Small dome-like spots with a shiny surface. They may be pink, and have a cheesy plug in the centre.
Anywhere on your baby’s body.
It’s most common in children, young adults and people who have atopic eczema.
Molluscum can clear up on its own, but may take 6 to 18 months, and because it’s contagious you should make sure you don’t share your baby’s towels and flannels with others in your family. The homeopathic remedy thuja may have good results with molluscum.
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