6.4.3  What are the signs of skin infection?

The two common forms of skin infection in the newborn are:

If you find signs of impetigo or monilial rash you should refer the newborn to the hospital or health centre

  • Impetigo caused by Staphylococcus bacteria in the skin, which presents as pus-filled blisters (pustules) usually seen around the umbilicus or in the nappy area. Are there many pustules? More than 10 is a general danger sign.
  • Monilial rash is caused by a fungus (Candida or Monilia species). This almost always occurs in the nappy area and presents as red, slightly raised spots, and is most marked in the skin creases.

In contrast, a nappy rash due to irritation of the skin by stool and urine, usually affects the exposed areas of the skin and not the creases. Improved hygiene, washing the baby often with clean warm water and allowing the skin to dry completely, is usually enough to resolve nappy rash unless it becomes infected.

A sweat rash, due to excessive sweating, may look like a skin infection, but it is not. It presents as small, clear blisters on the forehead or a fine red rash on the neck and trunk. Reassure the mother that this is not a serious problem and advise her to wash the baby with warm water and prevent overheating.

6.4.2  What are the signs of an infected umbilical cord stump?

6.4.4  What is neonatal tetanus?