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Category Archives: Infant Care

With the summer finally in full swing, we can expect to be spending a lot more time outside enjoying the warm weather. Many of us may not think about it, but with the combination of warmer temperatures and increased activity, our bodies are losing more water than usual. If we do not replace the fluids that are lost, we are putting ourselves at risk of dehydration. Everyone has experienced minor dehydration. The common feeling of being thirsty is the body’s way of letting us know that it is becoming dehydrated and needs the lost fluids to be replaced. This signal should not be ignored, so when you feel thirsty, it’s time to get a drink of water. The problem arises when the person does not have close access to water or if they become dehydrated very quickly from too much heat exposure or exercise. At this point the symptoms of dehydration are more serious and may include weakness, dizziness, fainting, decreased urination, or deeply yellow-coloured urine. A person with any of these symptoms may require medical attention.

Fortunately, there are some very simple steps that you can take to prevent dehydration. Always bring extra water with you – especially for outdoor events or if working outside. Wear light-coloured and loose-fitting clothing as it will keep you cooler on hot, sunny days. Try to avoid exercise and exposure during high heat index days or at least limit time spent in the heat by finding a shaded area to cool down. Limit alcohol consumption, because alcohol increases water loss leading to dehydration. Many people may reach for an alcoholic beverage when they feel thirsty, but this is not a good choice as it will not replace the fluids that your body needs and it may impair your ability to sense the warning signs of dehydration.

It is important for everyone to keep hydrated, but it is especially important to ensure that children and elderly people are getting enough fluids. It may be difficult to get children to drink lots of water throughout the day, so providing them with snacks of fruits and vegetables that have high water content will help to replace those lost fluids. Some of the most hydrating foods include cucumber, iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, watermelon, strawberries, and cantaloupe. Older people may have difficulty getting around, they may be disabled or have trouble swallowing which can increase the risk of becoming dehydrated. Ensuring that they stay hydrated is extremely important as they may not sense the warning signs or simply may not communicate it with anyone.

Warmer weather and sunny days are ideal for outdoor events and activities, but please keep in mind our tips for staying cool and hydrated this summer season!

Diaper Rash and Infant Colic are two areas of concern for many parents.  There are some good over-the-counter remedies that can help with both issues.

Most babies develop diaper rash at some point in their infancy.  Plain water should be used to clean the area.  Baby wipes can be irritating and cause worsening of the condition.  Washcloths can be used to clean and dry the area.  Try to leave the diaper off as long as possible to allow the area to dry.

Cloth diapers may increase the incidence of diaper rash.  Disposable diapers are better at pulling moisture away from the skin, however, some babies may have a reaction to the dyes in disposable diapers.  If this is the case dye free diapers can be purchased.

To help prevent and treat diaper rash, skin protectants can be used.  Most of the products contain zinc oxide along with other various ingredients.  In general the higher concentration of zinc oxide the better the protection.  If the condition is severe try a product that has close to 40% zinc oxide.  Zincofax extra-strength and Desitin Diaper Rash Ointment both have high concentrations of zinc.  Another product called “Butt Paste” is quite effective.  The brand name is Boudreaux’s Butt Paste.  It does not have as high a concentration of zinc but contains some other ingredients that seem to work well.  However, for some children some of these other ingredients have been know to cause topical reactions so it should be used with caution.

Yeast infections can accompany diaper rash.  An antifungal agent such as nystatin or clotrimazole should be applied in such cases and then the barrier cream should be applied on top.

Topical corticosteroids may also be indicated.  Guidelines suggest a low-potency steroid such as 1% hydrocortisone be used for a short duration (no more that 2 weeks).  In Ontario you need a prescription from your doctor for 1% hydrocortisone cream but 0.5% cream can be purchased over the counter.  Long term and high potency use should be avoided because they can cause serious side effects.

There is a specialty product that could be compounded by your pharmacy.  This involves using a product called cholestyramine mixed with another base cream.  If all else fails you may want to ask your doctor or pharmacist about having this made for you.

It is important to avoid using powders like talc and corn starch.  These products may encourage the growth of yeast, and can cause respiratory problems for the infant if inhaled.

In severe cases treatment with a steroid cream, an antifungal, and a barrier cream may be necessary all at the same time.   Apply the steroid first then the antifungal and then the barrier cream.

Infant colic is another common problem.  It is characterized by inconsolable crying with no identifiable cause.  It starts at two to three weeks of age, peaks at six weeks and may begin to improve at twelve weeks.  There is no universally effective treatment.  First steps involve swaddling the infant, walking, cuddling, offering a pacifier, taking car rides, walking outside, trying noise from the vacuum cleaner, clothes dryer, or fan.  For nursing moms, dietary changes can also be tried.  Eliminating cow’s milk, onions, cabbage, and broccoli.  For formula fed infants a change to a non-cow’s milk based formula may help.

Two over-the-counter products to try are alcohol free Gripe Water, and Infacol.  The second product contains simethicone which is said to help relieve gas bubbles.

A home remedy which has been proven to have moderate success involves mixing up table sugar in water, boiling the solution and allowing it to cool. Two mL of the solution can be given at a time.  The recommended concentration of this solution is 12% (one level teaspoon of sugar in 30 ml of water).  The solution should be used after cooling, or put in the refrigerator.

There is no single answer to treating colic. You may have to try all of the above suggestions until you find what works best for your child.