Skin Infections in Children
Why Does Your Child Get Skin Infections?
Your child’s defence system (immune system) is not fully developed till puberty and can catch infections.
What are the Common Skin Infections in Children?
- Bacterial infections producing blisters, pus or boils
- Viral infection showing lumps called warts, molluscum contagiosum; blisters like herpes simplex, shingles and chickenpox; rashes like measles
- Fungal infections like ringworm/tinea or candidiasis/yeast infections
- Parasites eg. scabies
Treatment of Common Skin Infections in Children:
Bacterial Skin Infections
- This is usually a Staphylococcal or Streptococcal infection. Antibiotics will be required, which can be taken orally or applied on the skin.
Viral Skin Infections
- A viral wart (caused by human papilloma virus, HPV) is treated by liquid nitrogen, a cold gas. You can also use a corn plaster with salicylic acid.
- Molluscum contagiosum, presents as small skin coloured lumps which require treatment.
- Chickenpox (primary varicella) is usually not a major problem, however with extensive cases, an anti-viral drug called acyclovir may help. The child with chickenpox needs to be away from school and others for 14 days. There is vaccination available to prevent chickenpox
- Cold sore (herpes simplex virus) occurs over the lips and can be recurrent. Application of acyclovir cream for 7 days may help.
Fungal Skin Infections
- Tinea/ringworm infections are very common and treated with anti-fungal creams, which needs to be applied for at least two weeks until complete resolution, and then continued for another week thereafter (to ensure that the fungal spores are completely killed)
- Candidiasis/yeast infections are also very common, and often affect the diaper region. An anti-fungal cream will help (same application advice as above for tinea/ringworm), together with good care of the diaper area (e.g. keeping it dry, regular diaper change)
- This is an annoying problem caused by a mite. It causes itch and blisters on the hands and feet.
- Below 1 year, use permethrin lotion. Beyond a year of age, malathione 5% lotion is preferred.
- The whole family and close contacts must all be treated as well, because scabies spreads very quickly.