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Eczema and Nappy Rash are common conditions which especially affect little ones under 5!

Over a 1/3 of nappy-wearing babes will suffer from nappy rash at some point.

What to look for - symptoms can be a pink or red rash, sometimes with bright red spots and skin can get dry and cracked across the nappy area and beyond.  Left untreated, it can even lead to swellings, skin ulcers, infections and a very miserable baba – especially when poo and wee come into contact with the sore areas – so sleepless nights all round!

Regular nappy changes, sensible hygiene practice (thorough wiping from front-to-back for example) and use of a barrier cream can all help avoid nappy rash. Any new rash should be checked out by a healthcare professional – so do seek advice, your GP will advise you and may prescribe cream or medicine to help clear it up.

Eczema impacts around 20% of little ones - it’s most likely to appear before the age of 5 and typically between 3 and 6 months. It also runs in families so if mum and or dad have eczema, baby is more likely to have it – potentially along with related conditions like asthma and hay fever and even food allergies. If a child hasn’t developed eczema by the age of 5 therefore it’s unlikely they will - but not impossible.

What to look for - skin is sore and itchy and may appear wet, red, cracked, broken and bleeding. Itching can be unbearable and scratching can lead to infection adding to the cycle. Areas in babies most likely to be affected are the face, behind the ears and in the creases of the neck, knees and elbows. If you suspect your baby may have eczema it’s important you seek medical advice as early as you can. There is no cure for eczema but your GP can advise on the best treatments and may prescribe various creams to help. Scratch mits are also a good idea to help little ones avoid damaging their skin as they try and cure the itch ☹.

The good news is that many children grow out of the condition with 60% clear by their teens.

How can baby massage help?

Frequent ‘nappy off’ time is a fabulous way to help prevent and treat nappy rash allowing air to get to the skin.  In your baby massage class or when massaging at home therefore make sure you get those nappies off when massaging the buttocks, sacrum and back. This will enable a better massage experience for parents and baby too and don’t worry about any in-class leakage – your baby massage teacher won’t be concerned 😊. Back and bottom massage also offer the opportunity for ‘tummy time’ which can be so beneficial to babies.

Massage is also linked to lower stress levels. Babies suffering from skin complaints are often unsettled and have a harder time sleeping and being soothed. Studies have shown that children who were massaged regularly had significant improvements in terms of their anxiety levels and the condition of their skin.

Daily frequent moisturising is often recommended for treatment of eczema and, making it part of a daily parent and baby massage session can transform a treatment into a fun, relaxing and bonding experience.  With massage you can get into all those little folds and creases with a gentle but firm pressure, encouraging circulation and wellbeing.  A word of caution however – a UK study suggested some more general oils could contribute to the development of eczema (more research is needed) so do check with a pharmacist, health visitor or GP for advice on products to use on your baby’s precious skin. Any infected or inflamed areas should also be avoided during massage.

For more information visit https://www.nhs.uk/

 

“Being touched and caressed,

Being massaged,

Is food for the infant…as necessary as minerals, vitamins and proteins”

Dr Frederick Leboyer

Important – skin rashes can sometimes signify serious health issues. Parents and carers should always seek advice immediately from a healthcare provider regarding any new or unexplained rashes in babies and young children or if they have any other concerns.

Blog courtesy of Suzanne Borrell – facebook @doulasuze / doulasuze@gmail.com

 

 

References

AllergyUK.org (2019) YOUR QUICK GUIDE TO.... Eczema in Children Advice provided by allergyuk.org. Available at: https://www.allergyuk.org/information-and-advice/conditions-and-symptoms/35-eczema-dermatitis#download_access (Accessed: 20 October 2019)

BAD (2017) ATOPIC ECZEMA.  Available at: http://www.bad.org.uk/for-the-public/patient-information-leaflets/atopic-eczema/?showmore=1&returnlink=http%3a%2f%2fwww.bad.org.uk%2ffor-the-public%2fpatient-information-leaflets#.XbGmMXdFw2z (Accessed: 20 October 2019)

British Skin Foundation.org (2019) Eczema - What is atopic eczema? Available at: https://www.britishskinfoundation.org.uk/eczema (Accessed: 20 October 2019)

Babycentre (2018) Baby eczema: causes, symptoms, treatments and creams. Available at: https://www.babycentre.co.uk/a541297/baby-eczema-causes-symptoms-treatments-and-creams (Accessed: 20 October 2019)

Cooke, A. (2015) Olive and sunflower oil on baby skin weakens natural defences. Available at:  https://www.manchester.ac.uk/discover/news/olive-and-sunflower-oil-on-baby-skin-weakens-natural-defences/ (Accessed: 20 October 2019)

Field, T.  (2005) ‘Massage Therapy for Skin Conditions in Young Children’, Dermatologic Clinics. 23 (4) pp. 717-721. doi: 10.1016/j.det.2005.05.009

Nationaleczema.org (2019) Natural and Alternative Treatments for Eczema, What Works, What Doesn’t. Available at: https://nationaleczema.org/alternative-treatments/ (Accessed: 20 October 2019)

NCBI (2017) Eczema: Overview. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279399/ (Accessed: 20 October 2019)

NHS (2019) Eczema in babies and young children - Your pregnancy and baby guide. Available at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/eczema-in-children/ (Accessed: 20 October 2019)

NHS (2016) Treatment - Atopic eczema. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/atopic-eczema/treatment/ (Accessed: 20 October 2019)

NHS Manchester (2019) Infants Nappy Rash. Available at: http://www.choosewellmanchester.org.uk/self-care/self-care-information-about-children/infants-nappy-rash/ (Accessed: 20 October 2019)