You’ve mastered diaper changes and have a snappy way of throwing a barf rag over your shoulder for burping your little bruiser after a meal. But as your partner will tell you, there’s more to childcare than just mastering the art of diapering.
Children often develop skin problems that can leave even the most confident dads feeling bewildered. Learn more about how to recognize common childhood skin problems and what to do about them.
Cradle cap is a harmless condition characterized by flaky, yellowish scales on the scalp of newborns. Gentle washing and brushing with a soft brush can help remove some of the scales. For stubborn cases, consult your pediatrician about using a special shampoo or oil.
You know how to peel off a diaper, clean up with wipes, and tape on the next one. But what do you do when your baby’s bootie looks inflamed and irritated? Diaper rash is a common issue that causes irritation in the diaper area. Ensuring the diaper area is clean, dry, and well-ventilated can prevent and treat this condition. If the rash persists, a mild topical cream, as recommended by your pediatrician, may be necessary.
Fifth Disease, also known as “slapped cheek syndrome,” presents as a bright red rash on the cheeks. It’s caused by a virus and usually resolves on its own without treatment. The rash on the cheeks will fade but might be followed by a lacy-looking pink rash on the child’s torso, arms, or legs. If you see bright red cheeks or a lacy rash, it’s worth talking to your pediatrician, as Fifth Disease can be more serious if your child has an underlying health condition.
Impetigo is a contagious bacterial skin infection causing red sores or blisters. It typically occurs at the corners of the mouth, around the nose, or anywhere your child’s skin is routinely irritated. It requires medical attention, and your pediatrician will likely prescribe an antibiotic ointment or oral antibiotics to treat the infection.
Eczema causes dry, red, and itchy skin. It can be caused by allergies or simply appear on extra sensitive skin. Keeping your child’s skin moisturized can help manage symptoms. In severe cases, your pediatrician may recommend a topical steroid or other treatments.
It’s not a parasite—really. Ringworm is actually a fungal infection causing a ring-shaped rash. Over-the-counter antifungal creams usually provide an effective treatment, but a prescription medication may be needed for persistent cases.
It’s worth noting that these are just a few of many common skin conditions that can occur in childhood, along with warts, roseola, and baby acne. Your child can even get blisters and callouses from prolonged thumb-sucking. And hey, don’t be the medical equivalent of the guy who refuses to pull over and ask for directions; always consult your pediatrician if your child has unusual redness, bumps, flakes, itchiness, or pustules on the skin. You can be the hero when you receive a confirmed diagnosis and apply the prescribed treatment correctly and successfully.