How to Treat Itchy Skin on Babies
Itching in babies is fairly common because the skin of infants is thin, sensitive and prone to irritation. Itchy skin on babies can stem from a variety of causes, including eczema, irritation from soaps and fabrics, allergies to food or other substances, dry skin and insect bites. While treating the underlying cause of the itchy skin is essential, most home remedies to soothe itching are equally effective, regardless of the cause of the symptom. Itching that is accompanied by other symptoms or has no obvious cause requires medical evaluation.
Bathe your baby in cool or lukewarm water and use a mild soap when necessary. Very warm water, soaps and shampoos all contribute to dry skin and make itching worse. Adding colloidal oatmeal to the bathwater may also help soothe her itching.
Pat her skin dry or allow her to air dry 2. Rubbing your baby's skin with a towel can increase irritation, dryness and itching.
Apply a moisturizing lotion to your baby's skin as soon as her skin is mostly dry after bathing, when she wakes in the morning and before bed at night. Babies with very dry skin or eczema may benefit from an oil-based ointment more than from a water-based moisturizer.
Dress your baby in breathable, lightweight, smooth fabrics such as cotton or silk. Avoid wool and other scratchy fabrics, as these can significantly increase itching.
Keep your baby cool and avoid rapid temperature changes. Placing cool compresses or chilled, damp washcloths directly onto itchy areas may also help.
Cut your baby's fingernails to prevent skin irritation and damage associated with scratching.
Give your baby an over-the-counter oral antihistamine medication. These medications can relieve itching and control inflammation and other symptoms stemming from mild allergic reactions.
Treat severe itchy skin on babies by applying an over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream to isolated itchy areas, with your pediatrician's permission.
Speak with your pediatrician about an allergy evaluation for your baby if home treatment of itchy skin is unsuccessful. Formula or dietary changes may be necessary, or you may need to begin using hypoallergenic soaps, detergents and other products. If your baby's itching is severe, your pediatrician may recommend allergy testing to help identify the cause.
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