How to handle an infected thumb in babies

Written by contributing writer
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They are little bundles of joy, but babies can also be a bundle of worries for their parents. One common worry is a thumb infection. Babies who suck their thumbs are far more prone to thumb infections than babies who use a pacifier. The following are ways to identify and handle a thumb infection.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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  1. 1

    Don’t assume a red thumb is just chaffed from sucking. This is a common mistake parents make. They see the thumb is red and expect that it merely requires lanolin to soothe the chaffed skin.

  2. 2

    Look for swelling. An infected thumb may be accompanied by swelling or a collection of puss.

  3. 3

    Visit your paediatrician immediately if you suspect an infected thumb. Your paediatrician may prescribe an antibiotic regimen.

  4. 4

    Wash the area repeatedly throughout the day with mild soap and water to aid the healing process.

  5. 5

    Keep the thumb clean and dry. If possible, try to deter baby from sucking on the thumb.

  6. 6

    Monitor the thumb closely. If the infection spreads further down the thumb or swelling persists, call your doctor immediately.

  7. 7

    Be patient. The thumb won't heal overnight. Even though a baby’s skin has miraculous regenerative powers, infected thumbs take several days to clear.

Tips and warnings

  • Don’t be surprised if you find that the skin around the thumb peels during the healing process.
  • If there is a collection of puss on your baby's thumb, do not try to lance it yourself. Leave that to the paediatrician.

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