We’ve heard your questions and put them to Dr Gavin Ong, Medical Director and Consultant Dermatologist of The Skin Specialist.

What’s the red mark on my baby’s skin?

Are these reddish bumps on my baby’s skin mosquito bites or from something scarier?

In the majority of cases, it is not possible to determine whether a bite or wheal is due to a mosquito or other biting insects. They all look essentially the same. Fortunately in urban Singapore, we do not have poisonous insects that can cause severe bite wounds. Some children with atopic tendency may have what we called an “exaggerated bite reaction”: In such cases, the skin’s reaction to the bite is more severe and the bite site may become painful, swollen and sometimes may even blister. In such an instance, it will be best to take the child to see a doctor for medical advice and treatment.

If my baby has hives does it look different from adult hives?
No. Hives in babies, children and adults all look the same. They also affect the same parts of the body.

How do I tell hives apart from, say, chicken pox or dengue?
These three conditions are very different in how they look. Hives is a itchy red rash that comes and goes; chicken pox is a itchy rash with fluid-filled bubbles accompanied by fever, while dengue is a flat, red, generalised rash with a fever. The best thing to do is to bring the child to see a doctor for a proper diagnosis and treatment.

Does eczema look different in a baby? My friend’s kid’s fingers looked red and “skin felt hard”.
Atopic eczema indeed can being in infancy. Studies have shown that more than three-quarters of individuals with eczema will have eczema rash showing up by the age of two. The eczema rash in infants, children and adults all look the same. The only difference is the areas that are being affected. In an infant, the rash may appear on the cheeks and around the mouth. The infant may also get eczema on his or her fingers if there has been quite a bit of finger suckling. As the baby starts to crawl, the rash may also affect the elbows and knees. As the child grows older, the rash will assume a more adult distribution mainly affecting the neck, in front of the elbows and behind the knees.

What’s cradle cap?
Cradle cap eczema/dermatitis is a fairly common scaly, itchy rash affecting the scalp of a newborn. It is a form of seborrheic dermatitis and is considered as part of the endogenous eczema spectrum.

So when should I worry and when should I bring my child to see a doctor?
It is best to bring the child to see a doctor if the following occurs:
- When the rash does not subside after a few days.
- When the rash becomes worse — more widespread, development of skin ulcers or blisters.
- When the child becomes irritable or distressed by the rash.
- When the child develops an unexplained fever other than the presence of a rash.

Dr Gavin Ong works at The Skin Specialist, a Singapore Medical Group (SMG) Clinic.