Children’s health

25 September 2012

For our live chat on Monday 24 September, we were joined by our Health at Hand nurses who were on call to provide their expert advice on the topic of children's health.

Welshmumof3boys asked: Hi what is the best way to treat prickly heat in young children? My five month old developed a rash after we has been for a walk on the beach, she was in a sling and had sun cream on. She developed a rash shortly after we left and I was advised over the counter treatments were not available for children under a year. So I would be grateful for any advice on prevention and treatment in case it reoccurs.

Health at Hand nurses: Good morning Welshmumof3boys. In response to your question, a prickly rash can be treated with calamine lotion in young children. It is cooling and calming. Otherwise protective clothing should be worn and you should minimize your child's exposure to the sun as much as possible.

Littlelilypadco asked: How do you determine heat rash or prickly heat?

Health at Hand nurses: Good morning Littlelilypadco. Heat rash is the generic group name for a number of skin problems that arise or worsen because of heat exposure or overheating. Common names for heat rash include prickly heat.

Tired Mummy of Two asked: Having young children means that you are always checking that they are ok physically and always worrying about if they are ill. My 4 year old has eczema which flares up occasionally after she has eaten some food or touched something. What are the common food items to watch out for?

Health at Hand nurses: Good morning Tired Mummy. The good news is that majority of children will grow out of eczema problems. I would suggest that you keep a diet journal and look out for patterns of days your child's eczema gets worse and the foods and drinks he has had. Generally processed foods, milk and wheat products may contribute to flare ups.

Petra Hora asked: What is the best way to deal with dead skin on baby's head?

Health at Hand nurses: Good morning Petra. Dead skin or cradle cap on a baby's head can be treated with baby oil. Gently rub the area with oil on a cotton bud regularly.

Attachment Mummy asked: My daughters are both fruit mad, and after a few days of heavy fruit consumption get nappy rash. It goes away with air time and occasional use of cream, but is this indicative of a bigger intolerance/allergy?

Health at Hand nurses: Good morning Attachment Mummy. I am pleased to hear that your daughters are developing good dietary habits. It is common for children to develop a nappy rash after consumption of acidic fruits. If that happens try to wash their skin with warm water rather than using baby wipes and apply a layer of nappy cream to the skin after every nappy change.

Gemma M Williams asked: My daughter comes out in a rash when playing in grass, is this an allergy?

Health at Hand nurses: Good morning Gemma. Playing in grass is a fantastic childhood activity. Itchy rash is common and not serious. A warm bath afterwards and application of some calamine lotion on the affected areas should help. Should your daughter develop big welts on her skin after playing in the grass on several separate occasions that might be an indication of some sensitivity or allergy. If that is the case please discuss it with your GP.

AXA PPP healthcare: A question from one of our readers. My little girl is 13 months old and last week after playing in the garden I noticed approx. 10 small red bumps on her back/neck. They had only appeared where her skin had been exposed, it was very hot that day so I presumed they where heat bumps but they didn't fade for 3 days. She wasn't bothered by them but I wondered if she could be allergic to something outside or possibly have been bitten?

Health at Hand nurses: Good morning. It is difficult to say if your daughter was bitten by an insect or reacted to the sun and heat exposure. The good thing is that she appeared not to be affected by them and they have gone now. It is unlikely to be an allergy as an allergy rash tends to come out all over the body.

Nicky Bentonasks: My year 7 old is covered in cuts and bruises, is there anything I can use to speed up healing?

Health at Hand nurses: Hi Nicky. Cuts and bruises are common during childhood. Keeping the cuts clean and covered where necessary will help healing. There is no recommended treatment for bruising in children. If your child has unexplained bruising he should be seen by his GP.

Phillip A asked: I would like to know, other than chemical pain-killers, could you advise of more natural products that would help with headaches and such. Thank you.

Health at Hand nurses: Children usually do not suffer from major headache problems. But occasionally they will have a headache or other pain. Especially if they come down with an illness like the flu. Cold compresses will help to relieve the pain to a certain extent. If your child is suffering from regular headaches or other pain that should be investigated further by your GP.

mumtobe asked: Hi, my question is it is safe to dye my hair whilst pregnant - I keep hearing different opinions?

Health at Hand nurses: Hi mumtobe. Hair dye in pregnancy may not be as effective due to hormonal influences, also skin sensitivity is increased, so maybe have a chat with your hairdresser as well.

mumtobe asked: Is it actually safe to have it done whilst pregnant?

Health at Hand nurses: Any data studies on safety would be specific for the product and held by the individual companies, your hairdresser may have further information on this, otherwise contact the companies direct.

mumtobe: Ah ok, thank you

multicheerios asked: I saw the post the other day on leaving babies to cry - is there a line in the sand regarding that?

Health at Hand nurses: Babies cry for many reasons, the decision to leave a baby crying for a time is very individual, provided you have made sure that your child is comfortable dry safe and has no illness then you may decide to see if your baby will settle. Problems can develop as I'm sure you know if baby becomes accustomed to being picked up each time.

multicheerios: Oh definitely -I have been of the school to leave them till they calm down but on occasion the fire doesn't go out, as it were.

Health at Hand nurses: Yes exactly, it sounds as though you are doing all the right things.

ishfm asked: Hi - I have a question - we're told by the people at Avent and the like to sterilise the heck out of bottles and the like - and yet, babies are shoving things in their mouth left, right and centre. When is it safe to be a little less clinical about the sterilising (being hygienic but not crazy)?

Health at Hand nurses: That's a good question. In hospital the advice is to continue sterilising for a year, however at home some common sense can be applied, obviously your baby is being exposed to normal household germs and building up immunity so it may be fine to stop after six months when solids are being introduced. If the baby is poorly however, or has been vulnerable since birth i.e. picking up coughs and colds, then it may be prudent to continue for a year.

ishfm: Fair enough - I just find the process a little banal at 9 months when the baby is into everything - thanks.

Emma asked: How can I prevent eczema flare ups aggravated by heat?

Health at Hand nurses: Unfortunately it may not be possible to prevent your child being exposed to heat, particularly in the summer months. However some basic rules apply. Use of cotton clothing cool drinks maintaining a cool environment and avoiding your child running around and becoming overheated may help.

Lana asked: best way of treating eczema?

Health at Hand nurses: Hi Lana. In the first instance you would need your Doctor to make a thorough assessment - responses to treatments vary from child to child. Some children will respond very well for example to use of dermatologically approved creams for washing and moisturising and others may require prescription medication such as a very mild steroid cream.

Carolin asked: What's the best way to help a toddler with travel sickness? All medication is for children 3 years or older...

Health at Hand nurses: Hi Carolin, I'm sorry to hear of the problem you're having, you might consider travel bands, these can be worn around the wrist working on acupressure principles and may help. If your child is aged over 1 year, have a chat with your pharmacist as there are over the counter medications that can help.

Jennifer S asked: Can you use those little clickers that give off a really tiny shock for insect bites on 5 year olds? My son is happy to try it as half a Piriton is doing nothing for his itching (he got 7 bites on his thigh the other day then the little blighter got me 4 times- poor kid takes after his mummy for having tasty blood!) I'm just not sure about 'shocking' his delicate skin!

Health at Hand nurses: Jennifer, use of these clickers is a personal decision, however if you are finding Piriton is not effective there are other products available over the counter or on prescription. Calamine lotion for example applied to the irritated areas may soothe and provide relief.

LazyGirlBlog asked: My daughter is 5 and previously co-slept as she was breastfed until a year old. In the last few weeks, she suddenly wants to co-sleep again, but as you can imagine, this isn't practical! She gets very upset if we say no. Can you give any tips on getting her to sleep alone again, without causing upset and making her scream the house down?! She doesn't have any stresses or worries, as she's generally a happy child.

Health at Hand nurses: Hi LazyGirlBlog, I'm sorry to hear of the problems you are experiencing. As your daughter previously slept on her own it may be that she is feeling unsettled. If you are not already doing so then leaving a night light on for her, reading stories and ensuring she has her favourite toys may help. If she has recently started school she may be requiring extra reassurance during this period which should be temporary.

LazyGirlBlog asked: We have tried turning her light out at night, perhaps something as small as that is causing it? She's just gone into Year 1 after being at school full time last year and it is a bit of a change

Health at Hand nurses: It may well be something as small as that yes, combined with the change at school. Good luck!

LazyGirlBlog: Thank you

Lisa asked: When children and adults get dehydrated either due to a tummy bug or hot weather what is the best natural remedy? All too often Dioralyte is advised, but this is not always on hand or available unless a prescription is obtained from a doctor.

Health at Hand nurses:
Hi Lisa, Dioralyte is available over the counter from your local chemist, however if that is not obtainable you could try flat coca cola for example for a short period or water with some sugar mixed in.

mar27 asked: Hi, my 3 year old daughter has got really dry flaky skin on her scalp. We've been to the doctors and tried Dentinox and Nizoral. Is there anything else you'd recommend trying? Thanks.

Health at Hand nurses: Hi mar27, which shampoo are you using on a regular basis?

mar27: The Nizoral from the doctors three times a week but it hasn't made any difference.

Health at Hand nurses:  It does sound as though Nizoral hasn't been the answer here, perhaps have another chat with your Doctor. Other areas to consider might be her diet and fluid intake especially if she doesn't perhaps drink enough, as this can also lead to dry flaky skin and scalps. Regular brushing of her hair can also stimulate her hair follicles.