How to Control Allergic Skin Rash in Babies?
Skin allergies often affect infants, as their skin is sensitive and more prone to irritation and rash, compared to adults. A rash may develop even if a baby’s skin gets just slightly irritated.
If your baby has a skin rash, this may indicate an allergic reaction caused by exposure to some allergen. An allergic reaction is a result of the immune system’s overreaction to a substance that is normally harmless.
In order to treat skin rash in a baby, you should first determine the cause. Once you know what’s triggering the rash, you can get an appropriate treatment. It’s always good idea to consult with your doctor first.
What Causes a Skin Rash in Babies?
There are different types of skin rash that can potentially affect your baby’s skin. For instance, it can be eczema, hives, papular urticaria, or a food allergy. Each of these conditions has its own cause or trigger.
If it’s an allergic reaction, the rash may also be accompanied with other symptoms, including nausea, vomiting and other digestive problems.
What Is Eczema?
In the majority of cases, a skin rash in babies is associated with eczema. While there are various types of eczema, atopic eczema is more common among younger children.
Eczema can be triggered by various irritants, such as soaps, fabrics, or heat. However, the cause of such a skin reaction in some individuals is still not understood. Some experts believe that a combination of different factors, such as genetics and environment, contribute to the development of eczema.
The symptoms of eczema include tiny red bumps or dry, scaly skin, as well as extreme itching. Experts at the National Eczema Association say that these symptoms can affect different parts of the body, depending on the age of a child.
Thus, when it comes to babies younger than 6 months, an eczema rash often occurs on the scalp, forehead, and face. However, babies older than 6 months but younger than 1 year are more likely to develop eczema on the elbows or knees.
What Triggers Papular Urticaria?
Papular urticaria is a type of localized skin allergy triggered by a bug bite. A baby can develop papular urticaria after being bitten by a dust mite, bedbug, mosquito and another insect.
This type of skin rash is more common among children aged between 2 and 6 years. However, in some cases, it also affects infants.
Papular urticaria typically causes small clusters of red bumps that are sometimes filled with fluid. It may take several days or weeks until the symptoms dissolve.
How Do Hives Occur?
If a child has an allergy, exposure to the trigger cause their immune system to react, which leads to the release of histamine. Histamine is a chemical responsible for many allergy symptoms, including hives.
Hives can be described as itchy, pink or red patches of the skin ranging in size and shape. A thin red border around the patch is typical for hives.
Developing mostly in clusters, hives can affect any part of the body.
How Is Skin Rash Related to Food Allergies?
Statistics shows that around 6 percent of children younger than 3 years have some type of a food allergy.
The symptoms of food allergies can range from mild and moderate to severe and even life-threatening. Common signs of a food allergy in babies include hives, itchy skin, coughing, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and blood in the stool.
In some cases, breastfed infants can react to a food allergen found in the breast milk, before the food is actually introduced to them. Allergenic foods that are more likely to trigger a reaction in younger children include dairy, peanuts, and shellfish.
Other allergies can also develop, when a baby starts eating solid foods.
When it comes to introducing new foods to a baby, make sure to it carefully, one at a time. Not only is this method safer, but it also helps to identify the trigger easily, in case of an allergic reaction.
How to Treat Skin Rash in Infants?
Skin reactions are quite common among younger children, and not all of them need to be treated. If your baby has a mild rash, it may disappear after a few hours without causing any visible discomfort to the baby.
But sometimes, skin allergies can significantly affect your baby’s well-being. In this case, the treatment may be required.
Depending on the type of skin reaction, there are various treatment options available. In addition, there are some general recommendations concerning the treatment of skin rash in babies.
To start with, you should avoid cleansing and skincare products irritating your child’s skin, including various soaps, scented lotions, or detergents that contain allergy-triggering chemicals. Make sure to use allergy-friendly products and always check the ingredients labels.
To reduce the skin rash or irritation, you can first wash your baby’s skin using a soft, fragrance-free cleanser and dry the skin by gently patting it, instead of rubbing.
Then, you can apply an allergen-free moisturizer onto the affected area of the skin, which will help to prevent dryness and protect the skin from irritants.
In case of eczema or another allergic reaction, you can use a 1% hydrocortisone cream. Usually, the short-term use of this topical treatment is safe for infants. However, you should speak to your doctor first, to avoid complications.
If your baby is scratching the rash with the fingernails, it may be a good idea to use scratch mitts. This is because scratching can lead to a skin injury and infection.
Can You Prevent a Skin Rash in Infants?
Unfortunately, there is no way to completely prevent allergies in babies. What you can do is reduce the risk of a reaction.
To do so, experts recommend that you wash your child’s clothes using allergen-free detergents; wash the bedding in hot water at least once a week to minimize exposure to dust mites; vacuum regularly; avoid fragranced shampoos, lotions, and soaps; and finally, introduce new foods to the baby one at a time.
In case of an allergic reaction triggered by breast milk, you may want to keep a special food diary to see what’s causing the reaction. Usually, dairy products are to blame, especially when it comes to infants younger than 1 year.
Once you determine the trigger, avoiding this food may help to reduce the risks. However, don’t make any changes to your diet before consulting with your doctor.
When Should You Seek Medical Help?
Mild allergic reactions like skin rash in babies can be successfully controlled at home. But in more serious cases, a professional help may be necessary.
Thus, make sure to visit a doctor, if the rash affects the entire body or becomes worse over time, or if you notice any signs of a skin infection (e.g. bleeding, blistering, seeping fluid etc.).
A skin rash may also be a sign of a severe form of an allergic reaction – anaphylaxis. If your baby develops a rash, as well as wheezing, swelling of the lips or tongue, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms of anaphylaxis, you should seek for medical attention immediately.
Allergy is not the only cause of skin rash in babies. This symptom can also appear as a result of another illness. You should speak to your doctor, if your baby also experiences fever, lethargy, coughing, excessive crying and lack of appetite.
The Bottom Line
Infants have a very sensitive skin, which makes them prone to developing allergy-induced skin rashes and irritations. Some children outgrow their allergies over time, while others are still allergic in adulthood.
Mild reactions, such as eczema, can be managed at home. But more serious cases require a professional help.
It is important to determine the trigger of a skin reaction, in order to reduce the risks of future reactions.