Most babies are prone to skin inflammation, this is solely because of the fragility of their body system. Baby rashes on the face, body or bum are very common. It is not something to fret over. One such skin disorder is known as Eela.
The term Eela is used by the Yorubas to describe a skin infection known as Infantile Seborrheic Dermatitis(ISD) that is prominent in babies in their early stage of infancy. It usually starts about a few weeks from birth and lingers till the 6th month or more.
The Igbos refer to it as nla. ISD is an inflammation in the skin found mostly in the skin folds like the neck, elbow joints, ears and buttocks and especially in chubby babies. It alters the normal smoothness and fineness of a baby’s skin.
It is always a worrisome experience for both the mother and baby as it makes the child uncomfortable. A child who is affected most times encounters difficulty sleeping due to irritation of the skin, you see such babies turning from side to side, itching severely, and, most of the time, developing a fever.
Some experts suggest this may spring out as a result of poor hygiene, but this is not entirely true as the major cause is not known. It is rather safe to say it is due to the baby’s skin sensitivity and ability to respond to allergies.
You know how we react to some things, and we do not even understand why, most times, this is because of the sensitivity of our body system. It also may be attached to genetics, which is why it is not a necessary stage. All babies do not get affected.
Treatment /preventive measures
Is your baby experiencing this discomfort? Are the incessant cry from the irritation on their skin becoming a source of worry to you, do not be overly worked up, It heals gradually on its own over time. Here is the list of things you may want to try that help manage the symptoms and prevents a recurrence.
- Bathe your baby with warm water, especially in the afternoons, and afterwards, dress him in loose, cool clothing to let air permeate so as to avoid the prickly feeling. This soothes the skin and calms the irritation resulting from Eela.
That notwithstanding, we do not say you expose the baby to cold. Remember, their body is still quite susceptible.
- Wash hair often with mild soap or shampoo for the ones that affect the baby’s scalp. Apply baby hair oil and allow it to sit for a few hours before scrubbing gently with a soft brush.
- Change the baby’s diapers frequently, as prolonged use can contribute; always check for wetness. Also, allow the buttocks to breathe sometimes. It equally helps to prevent diaper rash.
- Do not leave your baby’s skin dry. The skin should be moisturized often, Ideally immediately after a shower. Pat your baby’s skin dry and apply a coat of petroleum jelly or other hydrocortisone-containing creams on affected areas. Lotions that do not contain too much liquid are most suitable. Coconut oil which contains antifungal and antimicrobial properties, can be used as a substitute.
- Most people use powder, but it does not help as this may leave the affected area dry and flaky. It’s best to leave the skin moisturized. If you must use powder, ensure it is not harsh or minty.
- As much as ISD may not be related to how hygienic one is, it is still beautiful if you keep good hygiene, wash with mild detergents, and keep an eye on what your baby gets into the mouth. Endeavour to keep your environment clean and free from bacteria.
- For home remedies, you can try cucumbers, it assists in alleviating itchiness because of its anti-inflammatory properties. You can slice and place bits on affected areas, being careful not to let them get into your baby’s eyes. It always leaves a lasting cooling effect. Aloe Vera is another of its kind, extract the gel and pat gently on the reactions.
Infantile Seborrheic Dermatitis is not contagious, it does not mean your baby is infected. It is not something to be panicky over as it disappears with time.
Do not purchase steroids without a prescription. Ensure you speak to a paediatrician before administering, as some over-the-counter medications pose more of a threat. It would also be nice if you consult before trying any home remedy.