Chapped Lips in Kids
Kids are prone to a variety of minor but annoying injuries. An average active youngster may have skinned knees or elbows or get an occasional bloody nose in the course of daily activities. Some kids are plagued by chapped lips, especially if they spend a lot of time playing outdoors. The condition won't cause any long-term harm, but it can be painful and irritating while it runs its course.
Chapped lips is the common name for a condition formally known as cheilitis. The lips become extremely dry and the skin eventually cracks and peels, the Skinsight skin care website explains. They may become red and swollen in severe cases. The irritation can become painful if the condition is not treated. Chapped lips can develop in people of every age, including kids.
Kids are especially vulnerable to many causes of chapped lips. They tend to play outside, which exposes them to sunshine in the summer and cold, dry air and wind in winter. Both of those conditions can lead to chapping, especially if the child licks his lips frequently, according to Dr. Lawrence Gibson of the Mayo Clinic. Licking may feel good temporarily because the moisture soothes the irritated skin, but the problem gets worse when the saliva evaporates. Many youngsters breathe with an open mouth, which is another common cause of chapping.
A child's chapped lips can be treated with a petroleum- or beeswax-based lip balm or an oil-based lubrication cream, Dr. Gibson advises. These products are safe for kids, and many lip balms taste like fruit, bubble gum and other kid-friendly flavors. They can be used as needed indoors, and you should apply a fresh coat to the youngster's lips before he goes outdoors. Cover his lips with a scarf in the wintertime after coating them with the protective product.
Hydration prevents chapping, so children should consume an adequate amount of fluids, especially when playing outside in the hot summer sun. Youngsters can get so involved in their play that they forget to drink regularly. Running a humidifier inside a child's room during the winter will moisten dry air, which will help protect his lips from drying out.
Chapped lips are almost always a temporary and harmless condition. However, Dr. Gibson warns they can signal an underlying condition if they persist. If a child's chapping cannot be controlled with the usual treatments and preventative measures, she should be taken to a pediatrician.
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