Preventing and Treating Angular Cheilitis in Children
Children’s immune systems are not that strong yet, which is why they’re more vulnerable to infections than adults. Babies in particular are at big risk, suffering from a high number of infections once every one to two months.
There’s a long list of common pediatric infections that affect babies and young children every year. These include ear infections, diarrhea, flu, and urinary tract infections, among many others. Common cold is the most prevalent. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there’s an annual rate of one billion common cold cases in the United States.
Although not as rife as the common cold, angular cheilitis can also pose a serious problem to children. Angular cheilitis is a skin disorder characterized with scaling and fissures on the corners of the mouth.
It affects children who are sick, are under constant stress, or are deficient in nutrients since infections can get into the body easier when the immune resistance is weak. It’s also common in kids who drool while sleeping or eating, or babies who use pacifiers as saliva accumulation on the mouth corners can lead to the formation of cracks. Those who bite their fingernails or suck their thumbs out of habit are also more prone to this infection.
Apart from these, children are also more susceptible to this condition because they’re more sensitive to extreme changes in temperature. Dry and cold weather can trigger angular cheilitis because it makes the skin more prone to chapping and drying, and this can eventually lead to cracking and infections.
Treating angular cheilitis in children and preventing its recurrence requires finding out what exactly is causing the problem. Home remedies usually work but only to alleviate the symptoms like redness, swelling, and itchiness. Now, in order to get rid of the problem for good, the root cause should be eliminated.
For example, if iron-deficiency anemia is said to be causing the problem, then the child’s parents should feed him with a diet that’s high in iron. For kids, the best sources of iron include lean meat, poultry, fortified cereals and oatmeal, tofu, soybeans, lentils, beans, spinach, collard greens, kale, whole wheat bread and raisins. Iron supplements can also help.
If angular cheilitis is triggered by habits like thumb-sucking or the use of pacifier, these should be eliminated in order for the skin condition to be fully treated. As angular cheilitis can also be caused by bacterial or fungal infections, then fighting the problem with the use of antibacterial or anti-fungal medications can be the best recourse.
Don’t let your kid suffer from this problem long enough. Get to the bottom of the issue and resolve whatever it is that’s causing those painful and itchy cracks on the corners of your child’s mouth.