Just back from an evening call night in the office and it was like dermatology clinic! But the funniest thing was that 4 of the children I examined, all of different ages, had the same thing: Lip Lickers Dermatitis.
It is beginning to be the time of year when the weather gets cooler, the humidity drops and children who are in the habit of licking their lips develop dry cracked and chapped lips. Not only do children lick their lips, they also tend to lick the skin around their lips which results in more chapping and irritation, and the cycle begins. One little girl I saw could actually lick all of the way up to her nostrils!! She had to show me for me to believe that this is why her nose was chapped, I foolishly thought it was from blowing her nose.
Every one of the kids habitually licked their lips while I examined them, even before telling them of their diagnosis. Several of the concerned parents doubted the diagnosis of lip lickers dermatitis, but I pulled out a derm book and proudly showed them pictures that looked just like their child. The rash can get quite raw and inflamed and if irritated and rubbed enough may even get secondarily infected.
The problem with lip lickers dermatitis is that it is a habit, just like thumb sucking, nail biting and hair twirling. As you know habits are hard to break, even when they cause discomfort. It is so hard not to moisten you lips when they are dry and are becoming drier. Licking your lips seems to improve the dryness but only for a moment.
The treatment of choice is to try and break the habit as well as to use a protective barrier on the lips and around the mouth. This is best accomplished with a thick layer of Aquaphor or Vaseline that must be reapplied quite frequently. For an older child you can give them a pocket tube to carry so that they may apply the moisturizer as often as need be, even every 30 minutes to an hour.
To aid in the treatment the thicker the layer of Aquaphor
This is the time of year when coughs and colds are literally everywhere. I think there are more people with colds than without! But with that being said, it is also the time of year that the best prescription I have is probably for a bit of tincture of time.
I wish that I had the latest and greatest cure for upper respiratory infections, aka a cold. Unfortunately, despite continually reviewing the latest literature, I really have not seen any new cure-all, so we are back to symptomatic treatment, which involves tincture of time.
In other words despite everything that is tried, I tell my patients and even myself, a cold typically takes anywhere from 7-14 days to resolve. I do think you feel better if you get extra rest, drink lots of fluids and treat the other symptoms.
As you know (from previous posts) I'm a huge vapor rub believer (and studies have proven this not just my opinion). I also drink lots of hot tea with lemon and honey (which has also been shown to help coughs). I suck on a lot of throat lozenges (lemon drops as well) and do a lot of nose blowing and hand washing, but despite all of this, I too have to be reminded that I need a hefty dose of tincture of time and this cold will pass!
While adults only get a cold or maybe two a season, young children get about a cold a month, which means an almost constant runny gunky nose and cough for more days than a parent would like to count.
I know, by this time of year everyone (including me) is already tired of colds and all of those respiratory viruses. But, just remember; hang in there, Punxsutawny Phil did not see his shadow so an early spring is on the way!
It's the sick season and colds are rampant right now. Everyone is asking: what is the quick fix to get rid of a cold? Unfortunately, when it comes to a cold nothing is quick.
The common cold starts with a runny nose then a scratchy throat followed by a cough. Your child may tell you they just feel yucky.
Don't be alarmed if your child's mucous turns from clear to colored. A green runny nose does not mean a bacterial infection, so need to ask your doctor for an antibiotic they do not help the common cold and are not needed.
The only proven treatment for a cold is a tincture of time and treating your child's symptoms will help them feel better, sooner.
Here's what I recommend to my patients:
-For a runny and stuffy nose, start with a hot shower to loosen up the secretions.
-You can also try nasal suctioning with a bulb syringe or a nasal aspirator for young children.
-For older children, I encourage saline rinses with an irrigation system like a Neti pot. Many of my patients swear by it.
At night, place a cool mist humidifier in your child's room to add some moisture to the dry heat in the house.
You can expect your child's cold to last about 7 to 10 days. Don't forget to tell your kids to cover their nose when they sneeze and wash their hands to stop the germs from spreading to everyone in the family.
I'm Dr. Sue with The Kid's Doctor helping parent take charge.
Alright, enough is enough! How could I possible have another cold? I routinely tell patients with children that it is not unusual for kids to get 8-10 colds a year which seems like once a month from September through April!
If you also think that the average cold lasts anywhere from 7- 14 days, then it seems like a child has a cold that lasts most of the year. That is how I am feeling right now.
A cold usually starts off with a little sniffles and maybe a sore throat, and you pray that it is just your imagination, and then over several days you realize that you now feel yucky, have more congestion, the sore throat is still there and you are coughing. That is a cold!!!! That is not allergies, nor is it flu. It is that pesky cold virus of which there are an infinitesimal number, and you have succumbed once again. That is my story!
So, with those symptoms AGAIN, and a day in the media research office, I went back to the literature to see if I could find ANYTHING that might lead me to preventing a cold, curing a cold or making this nasty thing go away any faster. I mean, I am a busy woman and like everyone else,I really don't have time for this! There have been thousands of studies done over the years looking at cold symptoms and their prevention. Studies on Vitamin C from the days of Linus Pauling, to more recent studies for prevention and treatment of upper respiratory infections have really found no benefits to taking vitamin C.
There was one study that showed taking vitamin C might reduce the duration of cold symptoms if taken before a cold begins. My question is, how do you know that you need to start Vitamin C in anticipation of a cold? Also, too much vitamin C may cause an upset stomach and diarrhea.
How about Echinacea? I have been taking Echinacea for years in hopes of warding off colds, but the review of the data showed that Echinacea had no effect in preventing the common cold, studie
I hear it just about everywhere I go. People telling me that either they've just got over a bad cold or their child has. Most parents I know pick up a cold from their child who brings it home after catching it from another child at school. That's how these things go, you have it, I have it, we all have it. And yes, I just got over a bad cold.
One of the ways you can help your child recover a little faster from a cold is to make sure he or she has plenty of fluids. Fluids can prevent dehydration and thin mucus, helping to unclog a stuffy nose.
What fluids will help? Good choices are:
- Water. Water is the easiest fluid to offer a sick child. Bottled or tap water is fine.
- Fruit juices. Fruit juice is also a good choice when your child isn't feeling well, but remember that some juices can be too acidic on an upset tummy and a little harsh on a sore throat. It's probably best to hold off on citric juices like orange and pineapple till your little one is well. Apple or grape juice may be more soothing. If your child is dehydrated, get an oral rehydration solution like Pedialyte or Infalyte instead. Fruit juice doesn't have the right mix of sugar and salts to treat dehydration.
- Decaffeinated tea. Tea is a good choice when your child has a sore throat. A warm cup of tea with a little honey is comforting to a sore throat and can help ease coughing. If you add honey make sure that your child is over 1 year old.
- Milk. Many people believe that milk can sour the stomach when youre sick. Not true. Milk does not cause a sour stomach or mucus build-up. In fact, the protein, calories, and fat in milk can help keep up your sick child's strength.
Are there fluids your child should avoid? Caffeinated drinks never good