Symptom Guide: Itching
Decipher the possible causes of your baby’s itching and know what to do


What it could be

What to do

Itchiness caused by a pimply rash on the body, tiny blisters.

Heat rash occurs when your baby has been out in the sun too long or is dressed too warmly. When your baby sweats to cool down, his pores may get clogged which causes a rash to form. Could be a sign of heat exhaustion.

If the rash remains after a few days and your baby has a fever, see a doctor. If your baby is hot, cool him down by removing excess clothing, dress him lightly, give him a lukewarm bath and keep him hydrated.

Itchy, red, raised, swollen patches of skin that appear on any part of the body, lasting a few hours or days.

Hives are the result of histamine being produced by the body in response to an insect sting or bite, allergies, medications or unexpected changes in temperature.

If your child can’t breathe or goes into anaphylactic shock call an ambulance urgently. Identify and remove any allergens that may be causing the problem. Dab his skin with calamine lotion to relieve the itching and dress him in light clothing. Seek medical advice.

Dry, itchy and scaly patches on cheeks, chin and body areas. Sometimes tiny red oozing bumps.

Eczema may be hereditary. Possibly an allergic reaction to foods or chemical irritants in lotions and washing detergents. Also aggravated by dry skin, heat or soap.

Your doctor can advise suitable treatment. Use a mild soap to wash. Pat your baby’s skin dry before moisturising. Avoid scratchy clothing fabrics and use mild, fragrance free detergents.

Small red bumps that are itchy and may swell.

Insect bites or stings can cause allergic reactions, the severity of which will depend on your baby’s sensitivities.

Call an ambulance if there are signs of strained breathing, vomiting, hives, shock, rapid pulse and swelling of the lips and throat. Seek medical advice.

Mild itching caused by scaly ring formations with smooth centres on skin and scalp.

Ringworm is a fungal infection of the skin spread by an already infected person or pet. Sweaty, moist skin is ideal for the fungus to multiply.

An antifungal cream is prescribed to treat the infection and it will take three to four weeks to clear. Scalp ringworm takes up to eight weeks to clear using an oral antifungal medicine and shampoo wash.

Itchy scalp and skin around the ears. More common in schoolgoing children.

Head lice are tiny parasitic bugs about the size of a sesame seed that infest the hair, laying eggs (nits) that attach to the shaft of the hair.

Use specially formulated shampoos to kill off the nits and lice plus a lice comb to comb out the bugs. Wash out all bedding and clothing and thoroughly clean out rooms.

Extremely itchy red bumps and patches on elbows, armpits, lower abdomen, wrists, genitals and in between fingers. There may also be curvy or thin white or red line marks. Itching worsens at night or after a hot bath.

Scabies is caused by tiny parasitic mites that burrow under the skin. Scabies is contagious and spread by skin to skin contact. The risk of bacterial infection is high when your baby scratches the inflamed skin.

Seek medical attention immediately. A topical cream will be prescribed to apply all over the baby’s body from the neck down, including in between fingers and toes. Leave on for 8 to 14 hours before washing off. Cover baby’s hands with socks to prevent him putting the medicine in his mouth.

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