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6 ways to manage dry and itchy skin in babies

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BABY MOTHER

New Delhi, Dec 5: Babies have delicate skin, which is sensitive to humidity and changes in the weather. Cold weather affects the skin even further by causing rashes, redness, and itching.

Most rashes are harmless and go away on their own. However, in some situations, the skin condition can become chronic and difficult to manage. Atopic dermatitis also called atopic eczema, is one such skin condition that affects one in five children globally.

Atopic dermatitis is long-lasting (chronic) and tends to flare periodically. Often, it appears in infants in the first year of birth and progresses till five years of age and, at times, even beyond. It leads to inflamed and itchy skin, resulting in patches of red and dry skin. The condition may worsen during colder months. Often, as the child enters teenage, the skin condition persists, affecting daily activities. This leads to a lack of self-confidence, thus impacting the child’s overall personality development.

Atopic dermatitis can lead to skin infections, as the dry, inflamed skin results in cracks, causing microbes and irritants to enter the skin. Dryness, itching, cracks, and redness are the common symptoms of atopic dermatitis, which can occur anywhere on the body.

A child whose family member has a history of asthma or allergies is more likely to develop atopic dermatitis. There is a 40-50 per cent probability of a child developing atopic dermatitis if one of her parents also suffered from the condition. This figure rises to 50-80 per cent when both the parents suffered from the skin condition.

Dr. Rajesh Kumawat, Head-Medical Services & Clinical Development, The Himalaya Drug Company, shares a few tips to combat atopic dermatitis in babies:

Avoid harsh soaps: Use baby washes containing herbal actives, specially formulated for baby’s delicate skin. Natural ingredients like Indian aloe (aloe vera), almond oil, milk, and olive oil work together to nourish and maintain the moisture balance of baby’s skin.

Avoid hot baths, long showers: Maintain the right water temperature for the baby’s bath. Water should be lukewarm, as hot water can make the skin dry. Baby should be bathed for not more than 10 to 15 minutes. Lightly pat the skin with a towel to remove excess water, and avoid drying the skin completely.

Keep fingernails short: Keep your child’s fingernails short and cover itchy areas with a cloth or dressing to prevent scratching that can cause skin irritation and infection.

Moisturise the skin: Immediately apply a gentle and hydrating lotion or cream to moisturise baby’s skin immediately after a bath. A good moisturising agent usually consists of natural ingredients such as coconut, kokum, rice, and aloe vera, among others. Moisturising helps hydrate the skin and relieve skin irritation.

Put comfortable dresses: Loose cotton clothing helps keep the baby comfortable, whereas woollen and synthetic fibres may keep baby too warm and worsen the skin condition. Avoid covering the baby in thick blankets/clothes that can cause irritation to sensitive skin.

Avoid harsh chemical products: Choose products that are free from mineral oils, parabens, fragrances and artificial colours. Natural ingredients like kokum and aloe vera are known for their hydrating and moisturising properties. Rice bran extract provides necessary skin components called ceramides, which are essential for maintaining skin barrier function and retaining skin moisture. Coconut has anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce redness and soothe the skin.

Understanding the needs of baby’s skin is essential for healthy development, both physical and mental. Any ailment of the skin can affect baby’s overall well-being.

IANS

Lifestyle

How to take care of hair in pollution

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hair fall
Representative Image

New Delhi, Feb 15: With pollution comes the requirement to be extra cautious of your hair as the chances of it getting dull gets higher. Make sure you treat it well.

Pankaj Chaturvedi, Director, Senior Consultant Dermatologist and Hair Transplant Surgeon at MedLinks list down some steps to get rid of frizzy hair due to pollution.

* Take cover, wear a hat: Always carry with you a hat or hairband to protect your hair from damage. If you really can’t help being in a really polluted area, keep your hair covered if you can, (or tie it back).

* Wash your hair regularly: Fortunately, pollutants sit on the outside of the cuticle and so can easily be washed off, so in order to reduce the microbial content of the scalp and make it less itchy and prone to flaking, we recommends regular shampooing. For men, alternate days to everyday and for women twice or thrice in a week.

* Adjust your styling routine: Hair that has been exposed to excessive amounts of air pollution becomes damaged, feeling brittle and making breakage and split ends more likely. Keep this in mind when using heat from a straighter, curling iron or hair dryer. Minimize the amount of heat you use and always use a heat protecting product.

* Add back hydration: When in doubt, hydrate. It’s a good rule for your health and your hair. Jojoba oil is one good ingredient to look for as it both moisturises and strengthens the hair’s natural hydro-lipid layer, which coats the hair to help keep it hydrated.

* Deep condition: Start a deep conditioning routine weekly. Deep conditioners are used to repair damaged hair, penetrating deep into the hair hydrating and repairing it.

-*-

Chiranjiv Chhabra, Director and Consultant Dermatologist at Skin Alive Dermatology and Aesthetics also has some inputs to share:

* Oil your hair regularly and properly: You should regularly oil your hair as it nourishes the scalp, cleanses dirt and dead cells. Almond oil is an effective hair cleanser, keeps hair healthy and facilitates hair growth as it is rich in Vitamin E.

* Try some do it yourself hair masks

* Ingredients: 1 Banana (it nourishes and repairs hair); Whole milk (moisturizer); Cocoa Powder – 2 teaspoons (moisturizes)

Method:

* Step 1- Peel and break the banana and put them into the bowl, mash the whole banana with a fork to get a fine pulp.

* Step 2 – Add enough whole milk to thin out the banana mixture. Add two teaspoons of cocoa powder, wisk all the ingredients in the bowl to form a nice smooth paste.

* Step 3 – Apply the mask on dry hair with a dye brush, and leave it for 20-30 minutes once a week with a dye brush to get perfect results.

* Step 4 – Wash your hair with a cleansing mild shampoo and let air dry your hair.

* Usage of right shampoo and conditioner: You should always use a shampoo according to your hair type. If your hair is oily and greasy then you should use oil-free shampoos which will make your hair less oily. For dry hair, you should always use a conditioner or a moisturizing shampoo to protect your hair from frizzing up.

* Add extra protection for your hair: You should keep your scalp well protected in terms of both physical protection and nourishment before stepping out of the house. You can use a sunscreen serum or spray to protect your hair from harmful UV rays and toxins.

IANS

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TV-time in class? Textbooks come alive in Gujarat’s schools

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Bhuj Gujarat School LCD

Bhuj (Gujarat), Feb 15 (IANS) In a small school near Bhuj in Gujarat, a group of class five students sit attentively in class, their eyes glued to an LCD screen. The opened science books on their laps have come alive on the screen before them, as an animated character explains the nuances of the chapter in their native language, Gujarati. Efficient learning, experts say, happens when students enjoy the experience, and in hundreds of schools across Gujarat, digitised school textbooks are opening up children’s minds like never before.

Learning Delight, the hand that is turning the wheel of change in 10,000 government schools, mostly in rural and semi-urban areas across the state, has been digitising the state curriculum since 2011, and has the approval of the Gujarat Council of Educational Research and Training (GCERT). The idea is simple: use technology to aid classroom teaching to make the learning process more engaging, more efficient – and definitely more fun.

So much so, that in a survey done in 350 schools where they have a presence, Parinita Gohil, co-founder of Learning Delight, said, “The dropout rate among children studying between Class 1 and Class 8 has come down by 6-7 per cent in the past five years.”

It all started a decade back when two friends, Harshal Gohil and Vandan Kamdar, who were doing their MBA, realised that there was a huge gap in education between schools in different settings. Outdated teaching methods, lack of interest among students and teachers, and gender discrimination were some of the common problems. This led the two to use technology and design, an e-learning tool that would aid classroom teaching.

“Harshal and Vandan began with a survey in five schools. Here they found that although there was no dearth in infrastructure – the schools had computers – there was scepticism about using them,” Parinita Gohil, who is married to Harshal Gohil, told IANS. The resistance mainly arose because “most teachers were not comfortable with the English language, were scared of using the computer, and apprehensive if the computers would replace their role”.

Therefore, the offline computer software that they developed was designed in such a way that a teacher’s presence was necessary in the class. The medium of instruction was Gujarati. “So be it any subject – science, math, social studies – the content was digitised in a way that through animation, riddles, puzzles, and stories textbook learning is made more interactive and fun,” Parinita Gohil said. The experts who designed the digitised content also had teachers on board.

There has, however, been an exception in this digitisation process – the language textbooks, be it English, Hindi, or Gujarati, have been left out. “We don’t want children to leave reading their books. So, while we have digitised the grammar lessons, language textbooks have been left as they are,” she said.

Next in the pipeline is a mobile phone app being developed with a similar software and a foray into Rajasthan, for which software has been developed in Hindi and in tandem with the Rajasthan state education board.

(Azera Rahman can be contacted at [email protected] )

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Lifestyle

Facebook tracking users who threaten its workers: Report

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facebook

San Francisco, Feb 15 (IANS) Facebook has been monitoring and tracking locations of those users who can pose threat to its employees or physical properties, the media reported.

According to a report in CNBC on Thursday, the tracking of users begins when the Facebook security team finds they are making “credible threats on its social network”.

The tracking is done by using location data taken from the user’s Facebook app or an IP address collected by the social network when a user is active on Facebook.

The locations of users are only accessible after they were placed on a ‘Be On the Lookout’ (BOLO) list after their threats are deemed credible. The list is updated nearly once a week.

“The company mines its social network for threatening comments, and in some cases uses its products to track the location of people it believes present a credible threat,” said the report.

Facebook has 2.7 billion users across its services.

“That means that if just 0.01 per cent of users make a threat, Facebook is still dealing with 270,000 potential security risks, the report added.

Users who publicly threaten the company — including posting threatening comments to company executives like CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg — are added to the list.

“Our physical security team exists to keep employees safe,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement.

“We have strict processes designed to protect people’s privacy and adhere to all data privacy laws and Facebook’s terms of service. Any suggestion our onsite physical security team has overstepped is absolutely false,” the spokesperson was quoted as saying.

Depending on the threat, Facebook’s security teams can take other actions, such as stationing security guards, escorting a BOLO user off campus or alerting law enforcement.

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