When to See the Pediatrician
New parents are often surprised by the amount of skin conditions that can afflict their newborn baby. For people who have had little experience with live babies, most images of babies have immaculate skin. Babies do have wonderful skin, as their skin has not been exposed to the effects of harmful toxins, cumulative environmental damage, sun damage over the years, and their skin is full of elastin, making their skin look plump. This is all true, however, babies are also very susceptible to a variety of skin problems due to their thinner skin, increased sensitivity, a still developing immune system, and increased opportunity for irritation. Additionally, there are many skin conditions which are thought to be caused in part by the mother´s hormones, such as baby acne, and cradle cap, which subside over time without treatment.
Often the challenge for parents is to identify when they should be calling a doctor. While many skin conditions are temporary and benign, requiring no medical attention, babies are also very susceptible to various infections from insects, bacteria, fungus, and virus, most of which require medical treatment to resolve properly. In many cases, these skin problems can be infectious, which can be a problem for those in the household or for others that are in contact with your baby. Watch for these symptoms, which may indicate a more serious condition:
- Lethargy - lack of energy and interest in their surroundings
- Change in feeding habits - sudden changes in apetite
- Irritability that is constant
- Blue color around the lips
- Pale skin
- Rashes which do not become pale or white when pressed
- High fever, or fever that is persistent
Finally, remember that you know your baby the best as a parent. Trust your instincts, and if you feel that your baby is ill, contact a doctor as soon as possible.