Folliculitis In Children – Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

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Children often fall prey to a myriad of health issues. Their fragile immune system finds it difficult to deal with the trillions of microorganisms hovering in their environment. In such a scenario, it is up to you as a parent to help your little one fight off illnesses.

The first thing you need to fight a particular illness is to understand it. Like they say ‘know your enemy to defeat it’! Children have sensitive skin and often deal with skin disorders. Folliculitis is one of the most common skin disorders children face. So, let’s understand this particular enemy and ways to defeat it!

What Is Folliculitis?

Folliculitis occurs when the skin depressions that hold hair follicles become inflamed. In most cases, bacteria are the cause behind this skin problem. One bacteria in particular, called Staphylococcus (1), causes the most harm. This bacteria lives on the skin and is responsible for other skin issues too.

Causes Of Folliculitis In Children:

Bacteria often infects an already damaged hair follicle. There are many causes why hair follicles can get damaged. Here are the major ones:

  • Friction due to tight clothing
  • Pre-existing skin conditions like eczema or acne
  • Skin abrasions

[ Read: Heat Rash In Children ]

Risk Factors:

In general, anybody can get folliculitis. And it is especially common in children. But there are factors that increase one’s chances of getting this skin condition. Your child is more likely to get folliculitis if she:

  • Sweats excessively
  • Lives in a warm and humid environment
  • Has diabetes
  • Is obese
  • Has a weakened immune system

Symptoms Of Folliculitis In Children:

If your child showcases the following symptoms, it may be time to take her to the doctor:

  • Pus-filled lesions on hair follicles surrounded by inflamed skin.
  • Itchiness
  • Tenderness
  • Pain
  • Scarring
  • Permanent hair loss

[ Read: Papular Urticaria In Children ]

Diagnosis Of Folliculitis:

If you suspect folliculitis, see your doctor. Repeated swabs, fungal cultures and tissue sampling for histopathologic analysis are often necessary to confirm the diagnosis of folliculitis.

Treating Folliculitis In Children:

Once your doctor determines the cause behind the infection, he’ll formulate a treatment plan for your child. Most cases of mild folliculitis heal with some simple home remedies (see below). But in more serious cases, your doctor may prescribe:

  • Antibacterial wash such as hexachlorophene
  • Topical antibiotic lotion or gel
  • Oral antibiotic pills or syrups

If these usual treatment plans fail to improve the condition, your doctor may try more aggressive methods. Sometimes, the bacteria causing the folliculitis is methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA. If your child has this particular infection, she may need:

  • A combination of 2 different oral antibiotics
  • Mupirocin ointment to apply to the nostrils

If your doctor has prescribed a course of antibiotics, make sure to complete it. Never stop midway, even if your child’s condition improves.

[ Read: Psoriasis In Children ]

Tips To Care For Folliculitis:

To prevent and care for mild cases of folliculitis, try the following tips:

  • Avoid tight clothing
  • Maintain personal hygiene
  • Wash towels, washcloths, and bed linens frequently
  • Keep the skin dry
  • Use antibacterial soap to clean the affected area
  • Apply hot, moist compresses
  • Apply some OTC corticosteroid lotion to get relief from itchy skin

[ Read: Eczema In Children ]

When To Worry:

Folliculitis is common among children. You don’t have to worry about most cases of this skin problem. But do discuss with your doctor if:

  • Home care does not improve the condition within 2-3 days
  • Symptoms reappear
  • Infection appears to be spreading
  • Antibiotic doesn’t seem to working
  • Your child develops boils or swollen ankles
  • New symptoms appear

Most cases of bacterial folliculitis heal within two weeks with proper treatment. Fungal folliculitis takes longer to heal, and symptoms may disappear in around six weeks.

The best part is that you can prevent most skin diseases, including folliculitis. A little care is all you need. If your child does get it, just make sure to keep an eye on her symptoms. All cases of folliculitis does not require antibiotics. Try and manage the condition at home first. And don’t hesitate to call your doctor if you are worried!

Has your child ever experienced folliculitis? What treatment did you use? Share your experience with us in the comments section below!

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