How to Handle an Infected Thumb in Babies

By Prev Info - February 14, 2022

Thumb sucking can lead to severely chapped skin.

Many young children develop a bad habit of sucking on their thumbs. Toddlers do it as a way to comfort themselves, but it can turn into a habit that is hard to break. Not only can thumb sucking cause dental problems, it harm the skin, as well. As a result of persistent sucking, the thumb can become red, swollen and chaffed. The slightest touch can cause pain to a chaffed thumb. Parents can help soothe the damaged skin of the affected thumb so that their child's pain is relieved.

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.

How to Handle an Infected Thumb in Babies


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


3 - Visit your pediatrician immediately if you suspect an infected thumb. Your pediatrician may prescribe an antibiotic regimen.

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

5 - Keep the thumb clean and dry. If possible, try to deter baby from sucking on the thumb. Try to find activities throughout the day that keep your child's hands busy so he isn't able to suck his thumb. This can help prevent future chaffing.

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

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 & 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 pediatrician.





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