It’s common knowledge that babies drool! Drooling is a perfectly natural and healthy thing that all infants do, and parents shouldn’t be alarmed to see a wet sheen on their baby’s cheeks from time to time. However, when drool sticks around too long, it can result in something called “drool rash.” In this article, we will discuss what drool rash is, what causes it, and everything you need to know about treating drool rash on a baby’s neck, chest, and face.
What is Drool Rash?
Drool rash is a common skin condition in which the dampness of lingering drool irritates the skin. Cases of drool rash will most likely occur when an infant enters the teething stage, from three to six months of age. When drool lingers on a baby’s sensitive skin, it causes irritation that can lead to a rash.
While common and often uncomfortable, it is important to note that this rash is not contagious and seldomly serious.
Causes of Drool Rash
Drool rash occurs when drool or excess moisture stays on a baby’s face, neck, and chest for extended periods of time. Certain factors are likely to increase the chances of a baby developing a drool rash.
A baby’s mouth begins producing excess saliva as new teeth begin to push through the gums. This surplus of saliva can lead to excessive drooling, creating persistent dampness on a baby’s skin and clothes.
Pacifiers can trap moisture against a baby’s skin. This includes moisture from any source, including drool and breast milk. If a baby uses a pacifier frequently and the area behind the pacifier is not kept dry and clean, a drool rash can occur.
Wet food left on a baby’s skin for extended periods of time can also cause irritation and lead to drool rash.
Symptoms of Drool Rash
Most often, the symptoms of drool rash will include the following on any affected areas:
- Red and Itchy Bumps
- Flat or Slightly Raised Patches of Skin
- Dry, Chapped Skin
Drool Rash vs. Eczema
In some cases, it may be easy for a person to confuse drool rash with a case of eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis. While similar, there are key differentiators between the two conditions. Mainly that eczema can appear anywhere on the body, including the face, forehead, and scalp. Unlike drool rash, eczema will often appear on the lower body, affecting skin surrounding the elbow and knee joints. By contrast, drool rash tends to be more localized to a baby’s mouth, cheeks, neck, and chest.
How Long Does Drool Rash Last
Drool rash, when handled properly with at-home treatment, will usually clear up in three to seven days. If cases of drool rash last longer than one week, there may be cause to speak with your pediatrician.
How to Treat and Prevent Drool Rash
Treatment for drool rash is very similar to the recommended treatment for diaper rash. To treat and prevent drool rash, you can do the following.
To treat drool rash on a baby’s neck, chest, or face, you can gently wipe the affected areas with a warm cloth twice a day to make sure the area is kept clean. Be sure to pat or dab the area instead of rubbing it; rubbing can cause more irritation and increase the risk of infection.
You can also apply a thin layer of ointment to your baby’s drool rash. A simple petroleum jelly will create a barrier, protecting the skin from saliva and other irritants.
While your baby is suffering from drool rash, avoid using lotion on the affected area, as this may cause further irritation and add moisture to the site. Using fragrance-free soaps at bath time is also recommended, as they are less likely to contain irritating chemicals.
The best way to prevent drool rash is by keeping your baby as dry as possible! This can be done in many ways:
- Keep a bib or wipe handy and clean up excess drool frequently.
- Change your baby’s clothes when they become damp.
- Gently and thoroughly clean your baby’s skin after feeding.
- Use waterproof or absorbent bibs to catch drool before it reaches the chest.
- Use a chilled teething ring to soothe your child’s gums and reduce excess saliva.
- Avoid harsh chemicals in laundry detergent, soaps, and cleaning products to protect sensitive skin.
- Frequently sanitize items that will go in your baby’s mouth (pacifiers, bottles, toys, etc.)
- Give your baby time to be naked so their skin can air dry.
- Limit their use of a pacifier to avoid trapping moisture against the skin.
When to Seek Medical Attention
Most of the time, drool rash can be treated at home. However, when your baby’s condition worsens, or an infection takes hold, treating drool rash on a baby’s neck, face, and chest may become more complicated. Seek help from your pediatrician if your child’s drool rash:
- Persists longer than one week.
- Appears crusty or cracked.
- Begins to ooze, blister, or weep.
- Is itchy and painful
- Results in a fever.
- Causes labored breathing or trouble swallowing.
- Causes your child to stop eating or drinking
- Causes your child to hold their head in a strange way.
Village Emergency Centers Can Help
When you need help with drool rash, you will want to have your child seen and cared for as soon as possible. While your pediatrician may not be immediately available, our doctors and nurses will be. Our facilities offer 24/7 pediatric emergency services, so you don’t have to wait to get your child the help they need and the care they deserve. Find your Village today by visiting our website.