What causes eczema?

No one knows for sure, but we do know that the tendency to have eczema is often inherited. So your baby is more likely to have it if you or a close family member has had eczema, asthma, or allergies. Eczema is not an allergic reaction to a substance, but it can be triggered by allergens in your baby's diet — or in your diet if you're breastfeeding. The rash can also be aggravated by heat, irritants that come in contact with your baby's skin (like wool or the chemicals in some soaps, lotions, and detergents)...

My baby has scaly red patches on her skin that seem to be very itchy. What is this ugly rash?

It sounds like eczema (also called atopic dermatitis), a skin rash that often appears in the first year of life. Eczema usually shows up on a baby's forehead, cheeks, and scalp, but it can spread to the arms, legs, chest, or other parts of the body. Your baby's rash might look like dry, thickened, scaly skin, or it might be made up of tiny red bumps that can blister, ooze, or become infected if scratched. Eczema isn't contagious, but because it's intensely itchy, scratching can be a problem.

When should I call the doctor?

Call 911 immediately if your baby has respiratory symptoms such as wheezing or shortness of breath, if his face or tongue swells, or if he passes out. Along with hives, these symptoms can signal anaphylactic shock, a potentially fatal allergic reaction. A baby's respiratory system is so tiny that even a small amount of swelling can make it very difficult for him to breathe. If your baby's uncomfortable, ask your doctor if you can give him an oral antihistamine (such as over-the-counter Benadryl) to reduce t...

How should I treat hives?

If you think your baby has broken out in hives because of a pet or pollen allergy, give him a bath to rinse away as much of the allergen as possible. Cool compresses — or cool baths — sometimes provide relief. You might also try dabbing the hives with calamine lotion on a cotton ball. Avoid dressing your baby in clothing that's snug in the area where he has hives. And if you can identify the cause of the hives, do your best to keep your baby from being exposed to it in the future.

What causes hives?

Hives show up when the body releases a chemical called histamine. There are so many reasons this might happen that you might have trouble identifying the culprit, but here are the most likely possibilities: Insect bites and stings. If your baby's allergic to bees or fire ants, for example, he could develop hives in reaction to being stung or bitten. Food. Your baby might get hives in reaction to something he eats, once he's eating solids. Or he might react to something you ate if you're breastfeeding him. T...

What are hives?

Hives, also known as urticaria or welts, are swollen areas on the skin. They can show up in different shapes and sizes, but are generally well defined, with a pale, central, raised area surrounded by a red border. And they usually itch. Your baby may have a group of hives that disappears after a few minutes or a few hours, only to have a new crop show up elsewhere. If your baby breaks out in hives, they could last from a few hours to a few days, although it's possible to have hives for months at a time. Hiv...

How can I prevent heat rash?

Keep your baby comfortably cool by dressing him in loose-fitting, lightweight clothing, especially in warm, humid weather. Natural fabrics such as cotton are absorbent and will allow him to sweat more efficiently than synthetics. Avoid plastic pants and plastic diaper liners. A light dusting of cornstarch may help prevent heat rash in your baby's creases, but avoid using talcum powder, which is dangerous for your baby to breathe. When holding your baby, try not to wear abrasive fabrics, like wool, that migh...

How should I treat heat rash?

Start by cooling your baby off. Loosen or remove his clothing, and move him into an airy room or a shady spot. You might place him on a cotton towel, which can help absorb his sweat. Apply cool, wet washcloths to the areas affected by the rash. A lukewarm bath with a little baking soda — 2 teaspoons per gallon — can also help. Let him air dry rather than rubbing him with a towel. And don't use ointments or creams on the rash. These can make the rash worse by trapping moisture. If it's hot at night, use an a...

Is heat rash serious?

No, but it's a sign that your baby is too warm. Overheating can lead to serious conditions such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke. And some studies suggest that a baby's being too warm during sleep can contribute to SIDS.

What causes heat rash?

Your baby sweats to cool down. If he sweats so much that his pores clog and sweat can't get out, heat rash develops. (Babies and young children are particularly prone to heat rash because they have smaller pores than adults do.) Hot, humid weather is prime time for heat rash, but you might see it in winter, too, if your baby is wearing too many layers of clothing or is running a fever. Sometimes a baby will get heat rash after a cough ointment is rubbed on his chest.

What is heat rash?

Heat rash, also known as "prickly heat" or "summer rash," is an eruption of little bumps (and sometimes tiny blisters) on the skin that can show up when your baby overheats. The bumps may appear red, especially on light skin. Children of all ages can get heat rash, but it's most common in babies. If your baby has heat rash, you'll most likely see it in the folds of his skin and on parts of his body where his clothing fits snugly, including his chest, stomach, neck, crotch, and buttocks. If he wears hats, th...

What is the role of these birds and mammals in the life cycle of the parasites?

When cercariae contact a suitable bird or mammal, they penetrate through the skin, migrate through various organs such as the liver and lungs, and then reside in the blood vessels of the host, particularly those surrounding the intestine. The parasites develop to adulthood there even though they are extremely small and thin. The female worms (no bigger than a single hair of a paint brush) then lay eggs that work their way into the host's intestine. When the host defecates into the water, the eggs of the par...

How do I know if I have got Lyme disease?

Lyme disease is not an easy diagnosis to make. This is especially so if the patient has no rash and does not recall an episode of tick bite. If a patient remembers a tick bite and then becomes unwell, Lyme disease is a possibility. There is no diagnostic test that is absolutely reliable in confirming a case of Lyme disease. Negative test results therefore, do not necessarily mean it is absent. After all exclusionary tests have been done; the diagnosis can be made on clinical grounds alone.

Can Lyme disease be prevented?

There are many measures you can take to protect yourself from ever falling victim to this nasty infection. There is however, no vaccine available at present. Prevention relies on people being aware of the risk that ticks present and using sensible measures to avoid being bitten. These measures include wearing suitable clothing and frequently checking the skin for ticks. It is also essential to know how to remove a tick properly if it is still present and to go promptly for medical advice if you notice any s...

Will my doctor treat me for Lyme disease?

If you have this diagnosis your doctor should treat you. However, many doctors are not familiar with treating Lyme patients. In this case, you may do better to see a doctor who is familiar with the disease. Always try to keep your GP involved and informed. A worsening of symptoms called a Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction may complicate the start of treatment. This does not occur in every case but if it should occur further medical advice should be taken. Lyme disease is an infectious disease and the primary aim ...

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