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A neck rash in babies is a common occurrence, as babies have soft and delicate skin. Babies usually have chubby necks with many skin folds, which makes them vulnerable to rashes, particularly till the time they are unable to hold their necks up by themselves. Most rashes are not a cause of concern, as they disappear on their own when babies learn to hold their neck up without any support.
What is Neck Rash in Infants?
A neck rash in infants usually occurs when the skin turns red and itchy. The affected skin is likely to appear bumpy or scaly. It normally appears in the skin folds of the neck. Infants of about four to six months commonly suffer from neck rashes due to various reasons like fungal infections, prickly heat, skin irritation, and so on.
What Causes Baby Neck Rash?
For the effective treatment of neck rashes in babies, it is necessary to know the cause of the rash first. Some of the reasons for a rash on a baby’s neck can be:
1. Prickly Heat
A baby may develop a neck rash due to prickly heat, especially during summers when the temperatures are high. As a result of this, sweat may get trapped below the skin and block the sweat ducts. Red bumps can appear on the baby’s neck, which may turn itchy. Such a rash is also called heat rash or sweat rash.
2. Stork Bites
Sometimes a red/pink patch or birthmark may appear on the baby’s neck if the blood vessels beneath the skin get dilated or stretched. The birthmark is likely to be more noticeable when the baby cries or if the room temperature changes. Stork bites are usually temporary and vanish with time.
3. Milk Drool
During breastfeeding, some excess milk may get spilt on to the baby’s neck, which gets collected in the skin folds. If not cleaned properly, the skin may remain moist and eventually develop a rash.
4. Fungal Infection
A rash may appear on the baby’s neck due to a fungal infection. Fungi like candida tend to thrive in wet, warm places. The skin folds of the baby’s neck may become the perfect breeding place for such fungi if sweat and moisture get trapped in them.
5. Skin Irritation
The creases in the skin of the baby’s neck may continuously rub against each other and also against the baby’s clothing. This continual friction may irritate the skin, resulting in a neck rash.
Neck Rash Symptoms in Babies
The typical symptom of a neck rash in babies is the appearance of red spots which may result in itchiness and pain. Some babies may develop a fever as well. In some cases, babies may experience a loss of appetite. Overall a baby may feel irritable and distressed.
Treatment for Infant Neck Rash
More often than not, infant neck rash can be treated without any difficulty.
1. Cleaning And Soothing The Skin
It is desirable to use a fragrance-free, mild baby wash to clean the baby’s neck properly, using gentle strokes so that the skin is not irritated further. Gently pat the neck dry after washing, with a soft cotton towel, instead of rubbing the area. Also, air-dry the skin folds in the neck, so that it is completely dry and devoid of any moisture. After washing, you may apply a gentle moisturiser or skin ointment on the baby’s neck, in order to soothe the skin.
2. Dealing With Common Neck Rashes
Rinsing the neck area with cold water may bring the baby some relief from pain and irritation. Common neck rashes usually heal on their own and may not require any medical intervention. If a baby develops a neck rash due to fungal infection, the doctor may prescribe a yeast cream or anti-fungal cream to treat the neck rash. Applying topical 1% hydrocortisone cream may also prove useful. However, prolonged use of hydrocortisone is not advisable.
3. Treating Heat-Related Rashes
You may like to remove or reduce the baby’s clothing to allow the skin to breathe and cool off. Use pure cotton, which is a soft and breathable fabric. Keeping the baby in an air-conditioned room or cool place can help relieve some of the irritation and discomfort faced by him. Applying calamine lotion on the neck rash can help in calming and comforting the skin.
Home Remedies to Cure Neck Rash in Your Child
Here is a list of some simple home remedies that can prove beneficial in curing neck rash in babies:
1. Light Cotton Fabrics
Dress your baby in breathable, soft cotton clothes, instead of synthetic clothing that may irritate the baby’s delicate skin. Avoid overdressing your baby, as too many layers of clothes can trap sweat inside and not allow the skin to breathe freely.
2. Mild Detergents
Always use gentle detergents that are devoid of harsh chemicals to wash the baby’s clothing, towels, and linen. Also, unscented detergents are preferred.
You may find putting a little corn-starch on the neck rash after bathing the baby useful in keeping the affected area dry and moist-free. This can stop the rash from growing further.
4. Cold Compress
Applying a cold compress on the neck rash may provide relief to the baby from itchiness and pain. It may also soothe the skin by reducing inflammation. A cold compress can be applied a few times a day. Always remember to pat dry the area afterwards.
5. Good Hygiene
Practising good hygiene habits for the baby can protect him from getting rashes. Bathe the baby regularly, paying special attention to the skin folds while cleaning. Properly dry all parts of the baby’s body, especially the creases. Keep in mind to clean any milk that may have spilt on to the neck while breastfeeding.
6. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil has anti-microbial properties, which makes it an excellent home remedy to treat neck rashes in babies. Applying coconut oil on the neck rash can help decrease inflammation and itchiness.
7. Boiled and Cooled Water
Avoid using regular water to bathe your baby, as it may contain harsh mixtures or harmful microbes that can aggravate the neck rash. It may be a good idea to use boiled and cooled water instead. Also, use lukewarm water, rather than hot water, to bathe babies.
8. Baby Talcum Powder
Sprinkling baby talcum powder, particularly in the skin folds, after bathing the baby can help prevent rashes and control the growth of existing ones.
Certain preventive measures to be kept in mind while dealing with neck rashes in babies are:
- It is important that the baby’s neck is cleaned properly and remains dry, in order to prevent the development of a neck rash.
- Avoid over bathing your baby, as it can make his skin too dry. You can always wipe the baby clean with a damp cloth, in case he creates a mess.
- It may help to keep the baby in a well-aired room or cool temperature, especially during summers. Heat and humidity may lead to the formation of a neck rash.
- Resist the urge to over-dress your baby in too many clothes or cover him with heavy blankets.
- Make it a point to dab away the baby’s drool or dribbled milk that may get collected in the skin folds of the baby’s neck to deter the appearance of a neck rash.
When to Call the Doctor
Sometimes, treating the neck rash with home remedies may not be enough. There can be times when you should call the doctor, such as the following:
- If the neck rash shows no sign of improving or disappearing
- If the rash seems to be spreading to other parts of the body
- If the baby develops a fever along with the neck rash
- If the neck rash turns into pus-filled blisters
Neck rashes in babies are more likely to occur during the early months after birth. Therefore, it is important for parents to take special care during this time to prevent the appearance of a rash. Moreover, it is easy to treat neck rashes with simple home remedies. Nonetheless, if the baby has a fever along with the rash, which starts to turn into pus-filled blisters, contact your doctor right away.