Skin Conditions in Children
1. Bacterial Infections
Bacterial Infections are caused by germs, the most common of which is an organism known as Staphylococcus Aureus. Other bacteria, such as Streptococcus, can also cause skin infections in children.
Impetigo is one of the more common skin infections seen in toddlers. The face is a common location and there is a rapid onset of rashes with yellowish crusts that form around the mouth and nasal areas. Some children can also develop blisters that are easily ruptured and dry up to form a stuck on crust. This can spread through skin to skin contact and is infectious, and should be attended to by a doctor.
2. Viral Infections
The more common viral infections affecting the skin of children include the following:
- Viral Warts
- Molluscum Contagiosum
- Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease (HFMD)
Warts are caused by the Human Papillomavirus (HPV). There are many strains of HPV, and the ones that cause common Warts on the hands and feet in children are not dangerous. They cause small skin bumps to appear, which can slowly increase in size or spread. On the feet, they can sometimes be difficult to distinguish from corns or callosities.
Molluscum Contagiosum causes tiny skin coloured or white bumps to appear on the skin. They usually do not cause any itch or pain, and are sometimes ignored, until they are noted to be increasing in numbers. Parents often note the appearance of these skin bumps when the child starts swimming, and there is potential of spread through skin contact.
Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease (HFMD) is typically caused by Coxsackie virus, and is present all year round in Singapore. It causes tiny water blisters to appear on the hands, feet, and diaper area in affected children, accompanied by ulcers in the mouth, throat and tongue. Children often have fever. In most cases, the condition is relatively mild and resolves with supportive treatment and rest. However, there is a strain in Singapore, EV71, which can be associated with more serious complications. Always seek medical attention if the child remains unwell and is unable to take in fluids or a soft diet, and appears ill and lethargic.
3. Fungal Infections
Fungal Infections cause ‘ringworm’, which appears as a scaly itchy round patch on the skin with scaly borders. In children, sometimes the infection may be from contact with a pet, such as a kitten or puppy.
Toddlers are also prone to Candidiasis, which is caused by a type of yeast. These appear as red bumps and patches on the skin folds, such as the neck, diaper and buttock areas.
Fungal Infections can be treated with topicals in most cases. The affected areas should be kept dry and the antifungal creams used until the rash totally clears.
4. Parasitic Infections
Scabies can affect both children and adults. It causes an intensely itchy rash and there is often a history of close family members also suffering from itch. In children, small tiny bumps can appear on the finger webs, wrists, and toes, and also on the body. Occasionally pustules may also be seen. There are also itchy papules or nodules which typically appear on the armpits and genital area.
Once the condition is diagnosed, anti-mite lotions are used, and close contacts are also treated at the same time. Creams can be used to soothe the itch.