BABY GOT CAP!

EEWWW! What’s that crud all over your kid’s head??!!”

It’s Cradle Cap.

No, it’s not something you put on your baby when you put him to bed for his nap! Believe it or not, there are people out there who have never heard of Cradle Cap…usually people who have never had, or spent time around, babies.

“Cradle Cap”, or seborrheic dermatitis, is close kin to the dandruff which often affects older children and adults.Cradle Cap can also develop on older babies and toddlers. It presents as a patchy, sometimes yellowish crust that forms on newborns’ scalps. It can spread to the face, ears and neck if not treated.

Basically harmless, cradle cap can be a cause of discomfort to babies and an embarassment to parents who feel they are neglecting their babies’ health and hygiene.

Cradle Cap and dandruff are both often caused by Malassezia yeasts and, depending on how they are treated. Once can find a plethora of home remedies on the internet and old wives’ tales abound. For the most part, for a relatively new condition, these remedies will do the trick.

Parents must use common sense, though, when choosing a remedy for their child’s Cradle Cap, as some home remedies may exacerbate, or complicate, the condition. Also, when trying to get rid of it by combing it out, you can really hurt your baby!

The most common home remedy for Cradle Cap is the application of oil to baby’s scalp. The trick is finding the best kind of oil to use. Some advocate vegetable or olive oil, others: baby oil, still others say mineral oil is the best oil to use to “cure” cradle cap. But because the exact causes of cradle cap are not known, the type of oil used as a home remedy may be the difference between cure and complication.

According to the Mayo Clinic, “…one contributing factor may be hormones that pass from the mother to the baby before birth. These hormones can cause an abnormal production of oil (sebum) in the oil glands and hair follicles.

Another factor may be a yeast (fungus) called malassezia (mal-uh-SEE-zhuh) that grows in the sebum along with bacteria.” (Cradle cap: Causes. (nd). Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/cradle-cap/DS01074/DSECTION=causes on May 7, 2013.).

Cradle cap isn’t really harmful, just disconcerting. It generally clears up by itself within a month without medication so you can simply wash your baby’s hair once a week with a mild baby shampoo, then brush his hair with a soft baby brush to loosen the scales.

If you want to take a more active approach, you can use one of the home remedies. The most popular is to massage oil into your baby’s scalp, one to three times a day, wash baby’s hair with baby shampoo and towel dry. Using a baby comb, which is fairly flexible, comb the hair in the “wrong direction”, opposite of how the hair grows, lifting the scales up and away. Apply the oil again after baby is all bathed and ready for bed.

You have to be very careful about not applying too much pressure when combing out the baby’s hair, though, or you may damage his scalp and cause it to become painful. Use short, quick strokes…just enough to get underneath the scales. Don’t continue to go over the same spot over and over again. If you do this carefully, within a few days to a week, the cradle cap will be gone.

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A word or two on the types of oil to use. Baby oil is mild and formulated for baby’s skin but, because of the perfumes often found in it, perhaps mineral oil may be the best choice. Olive oil has the added advantage of being all natural and also contains a natural sunscreen, which can be beneficial to babies who have very little hair.

HOWEVER, vegetable or olive oils are not the best choice if the cradle cap has been there for awhile and should only be used if you’ve just noticed its presence. This is because the Malassezia yeast will actually feed on the fatty acids in the sebum (the oily substance produced by hair follicles). So the nutrients in these oils can only make the yeast thrive! As a matter of fact, when scientists want to grow a culture of the Malessezia yeast, they grow it in olive oil!

If frequent washing of baby’s hair, or treatment with home remedies aren’t working, talk to a doctor. He may recommend a stronger shampoo or a hydrocortisone cream to reduce inflammation of your baby’s scalp. NEVER use over the counter anti-fungal creams without being advised by your baby’s pediatrician, as only he knows your baby’s health as well as, or better, than you.

Just an FYI:  There are a lot of websites that offer money-saving, printable coupons for baby supplies and a lot more! Try GoodDeals247 and see if you can find a bargain worth going after!

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“Smart” Medicine for Every Day

So…you have always made provisions in your daily schedule to accomodate your exercise routines. They’ve pretty much stayed the same for the past 10 years but, lately, you’ve noticed you’re not getting that much out of the morning run, afternoon swim and evening bike ride as you used. You wind up feeling a little bored and tired rather than getting that “rush” which physical exercise always provided. You want to change the routine but you also want to be smart about it; you’re getting older and you’d feel better if you talked to a doctor first.

You’ve called your physician to tell him your intentions to revise your exercise plan and you have arrived at his office, with notebook and pen in hand to take notes. What greets you when you walk into his office pretty much floors you for it looks as if a little alien spaceship has ‘urped’ all over the top of his very large conference table.  As you look at him quizically he says, “Smart Medicine is for every day.”

Yours is one of the doctors who has decided to embrace modern Smart Medicine technology rather than running away, screaming, into the night in fear.

 He asks you for your SmartPhone and proceeds to give you a demonstration about how by using this kind of Smart medicine technology you will be able to keep detailed records of how your body is reacting to your physical exertions, without having to carry an old doctor’s satchel full of stethoscopes, blood pressure cuffs and thermometers whilest jogging through your neighbourhood. By using any of these devices to monitor yourself, by the end of the week you will be able to re-invent your work-out to better suit your changing body.

Many of these devices – such as a miniaturized heart/bp monitor and other devices that can be worn on or close to your body – can connect to your SmartPhone or iPad using a USB port or other connection .  He even showed her an amazing shirt that had sensors built right in that would negate the need of add-ons.  “Wearable” monitoring devices can measure movement, body values, blood glucose and oxygen, ECG, pulse – just basically provide continuous physiological data that can be sent directly to a doctor.

There are also apps that can be downloaded to a SmartPhone or iPad that have really increased the reliability of using remote health care and consultation services such as DrSmartPhoneMD via phone or internet.

Most awesome by far, though, was the alien looking headpiece that took front and center of the display which, besides the shirt, was the very definition of this modern medical and health care technology called “Smart Medicine”.  Any of those Smart Medicine devices could be used to make sure her new exercise regime could be designed specifically for her updated needs, safely and thoroughly.

Having a regular time set aside for exercise is important, whether it’s going to the gym, spending time in front of a workout DVD, taking advantage of your community’s recreation center exercise classes or even setting aside your 10 minute breaks throughout your work day.

Just remember:  before you make any drastic changes in your exercise regime, talk to a doctor and get some sound medical advice.

After all, any medicine is Smart Medicine!

“High” on Baby Soap???

Just a real quick “WHAT THE HECK!!” report:

In 2012 the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill performed a study in an effort to find out why so many newborns were testing postitive for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) acid, the active principal in marijuana.

BathtubWell, it turns out that there a good many of these tests were false-positive for marijuana exposure and it was eventually discovered that there are certain brands of baby soaps, washes and shampoos which were the culprits.

Medscape.com reported that investigators at UNC tracked down the products through testing baby wipes, gauzes and diapers with drug-free urine samples. Different products were then tested against these and the false-positives resulted.

Researchers aren’t quite sure why these particular products caused the false-positive responses  but surmise that there must be a reaction between certain ingredients in the washes and soaps that is similar enough to a positive response to actually read as ‘positive’.

“What does this have to do with me?” you may well ask.  Only this: it is the responsibility of all hospitals and health care professionals to report any suspected drug abuse regarding children, whether that may be exposure at risky levels or at levels which may pose a danger to in-utero fetus’ and/or their mother, to Child Protective Services.

The purpose of this research was to insure that people were not falsely accused of endangering their infants and children and so risk losing custody of them unnecessarily.

Now, this study was performed because of newborn testing, so it doesn’t necessarily follow that older toddlers may wind up with false-positive readings. However, there is plenty of research with which you can familiarize yourself, just to be on the safe side.

Please visit the Medscape article and familiarize yourself with the list.

If you recognize one of them as something you habitually use, it might be wise to store it in the cupboard until your child is a bit older. And if you find you might have to stock up on a different brand or formula of baby soaps and shampoos, you could easily be able to find a great bargain by visiting Good Deals 24/7 !