Monday, April 2, 2012

How to Treat and Prevent Cradle Caps in Babies

Most soon to be parents depend on the 'what to expect when you're expecting' tips / reminders most books and websites offer. One of the most important considerations parents should make is to check the different health ailments that their newborn infant might encounter during their first months. This would help minimize panic on the parent's part, and they would know what to do in order to give their babies the safest treatments possible.
A common skin ailment that newborn babies encounter is the Cradle Cap. This is also known as honeycomb disease or milk crust that looks very similar to dandruff seen in most adults. The baby cap can be seen on the head of the child and it sometimes extends behind the ears, on the eyelids and eyebrows. The skin ailment looks like a yellowish patch of scaly skin that is usually crusty and greasy. Although it is not itchy or does not cause pain, parents should still seek treatment, as there are cases where the Cradle Cap worsens.
The cause of this ailment stems from fungal infections or the skin's sebaceous glands. Most common misconception about this ailment is that it is caused by poor hygiene or allergy. Between the two real causes though, fungal infection is the most common reason why babies are afflicted with it. Sometimes, antibiotics also play a part why babies have it. If the mother was given antibiotics during her conception, or the doctors administered antibiotics to the infant during the first week of his life, then there is a higher chance for him to acquire this skin ailment. Antibiotics kill both the harmful and good bacteria in the body so people taking it would be susceptible to fungal infections. Good bacteria stops yeast growth and when the antibiotics also eliminate good bacteria, infants might develop fungal infections in different parts of their body such as the ear, diaper area, mouth, or scalp which is commonly known as baby cradle cap.
Cradle Cap is also considered as a natural condition especially if it is caused by the overactive sebaceous glands in the skin.
Most infants have overactive sebaceous glands since the mother's hormones are still present in their system as they are newborn babies. The greasy substance released by the sebaceous glands can cause old skin cells to stick to the scalp area that is why cradle cap babies have it and this skin ailment occurs. Once the glands have settled, the greasy substance would be minimized.
If not treated immediately, the condition can worsen and will hurt the baby. Parents should seek immediate medical attention especially when the baby Cap spreads, thickens, or becomes irritated, which can cause mouth or ear infections. One sign mothers should look at is the color of the Cradle Cap. If it turns red and the skin is cracking, immediate attention is needed as bacteria can use the wound as its breeding grounds, which might lead to impetigo.
Mild cases, on the other hand, such as those caused by overactive sebaceous glands, can be washed gently and parents can administer home remedies. Lotion and petroleum jelly are most common solutions for mild cases of Cradle Caps. Parents can wash the child's hair frequently and the scales can be brushed off with a soft brush. Mineral oil or olive oil can also help as it loosens the scales or crusts before the parents can use a soft brush to eliminate the flakes. Most pediatricians also prescribe medicated shampoos containing salicylic acid for the infant. Fungal infections that caused the skin ailment require a doctor's prescription of Clotrim or Miconazol Nitrate, which is usually used for athlete's foot, jock itch and yeast infections.
Expecting parents should be familiar with the most common conditions that their child might develop during their early years. It would save them the worry, time, and hassle if they know what to look for and how to administer or look for treatments.

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