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Skin Infection in Children

Children may have a skin condition caused by either bacteria, virus or fungus. Some of the rash have characteristic features while others may look like a scaly rash or red patches and bumps. Some rash (viral exanthem) may not be infective and is just a manifestation of a viral infection. If you suspect that your child has a skin infection, do consult Dr Joyce Lim to get the correct diagnosis and treatment.

Molluscum contagiosum is a viral skin infection (by a pox virus) that causes tiny white bumps and each bump has a depressed centre. The bumps are seen on the face and body. It is infectious with infants and toddlers being more susceptible. It can get secondarily infected by bacteria when the child scratches or picks at the bumps.

Treatment of molluscum contagiosum

  • Left untreated molluscum may last 2-3 years
  • Avoid skin to skin contact and sharing of towels and clothing
  • Avoid swimming
  • Treatment is with topical medication or cryotherapy under dermatologist supervision

Warts are caused by the human papillomavirus, that infects the outer layer of the skin. It is seen as a raised, rough bump or flat growths.  It commonly occurs on the hands and feet, but may infect any part of the body. Warts are harmless and will usually clear after one to two years if untreated.

Treatment of viral warts

  • Left untreated some warts may clear spontaneously in 1-2 years
  • Avoid skin to skin contact and sharing of towels and clothings
  • Avoid swimming
  • Treatment is with
    • Topical medication
    • Cryotherapy
    • Laser treatment
  • It usually takes several visits to get rid of the warts.

Impetigo is a skin infection caused by bacteria (most commonly Staphylococcus or Streptococcus), when the bacteria gets into the skin and multiply. Impetigo is more likely to develop when the skin has a poor barrier function, when its immune system is impaired (eg in children with eczema), in children with poor skin hygiene or from contact with someone with infected skin. Impetigo can appear as painful blisters, sores or yellow crusts. Impetigo can appear anywhere and is common on the face and limbs.

Treatment of impetigo

  • Skin hygiene
  • Avoid sharing towels or bedding, avoid school or nursery
  • Oral and topical antibiotics

Scabies is an itchy skin condition that can presents as red bumps particularly on the hands, skin folds, genitalia and abdomen. It is caused by a microscopic mite that burrows beneath the skin. It is easily transmitted during close contact and often occurs within families.

Treatment of scabies

  • Antiscabetic lotions applied to whole body including the skin folds, nappy area, palms and soles.
  • Family members and care giver are treated as well

Fungus can infect the scalp, body, feet and toes.  Fungus infection (Tinea) is seen as dry, scaly patches with raised mildly red borders or cracked, sore skin between the toes. On the scalp black dots may be seen with short broken hairs or rarely raised boggy pus-filled areas (kerion)

Treatment of fungal infection

  • Good hygiene and keep feet dry
  • Topical or oral antifungal medication

Tinea versicolor is a common fungal infection of the skin. The yeast interferes with the normal pigmentation of the skin resulting in small discoloured patches which can be white, red, tan or brown. It commonly affects the trunk and shoulders.

Treatment of tinea versicolor

  • Antifungal shampoo
  • Topical and oral antifungal medication
Skin Infection Treatment for Children