Have you noticed a musty odor from your child? Are you worried he may suffer from body odor that is noticeable? Are basic hygiene practices not able to overcome the problem? If you nodded along in concern, you might want to read our post. Here we look at how body odor affects children.
What Causes Body Odor In Children?
Sweating is a normal process that everyone goes through, even your child. In fact, he is even more prone to sweating, because of his active growth pattern and busy play days. Sweating helps cool his body down. A hot and humid climate, excessive play or physical activity and exercise are common reasons that your child may sweat. While sweating could be a reason for causing body odor, sometimes, your child may have a certain condition that causes the unpleasant smell.
[ Read: Causes Of Night Sweats In Children ]
Causes Of Body Odor In Kids Other Than Sweating:
Here are the possible causes other than sweat of body odor in your child:
It is an inherited and metabolic disorder that can create a musty odor in your child’s body. It can cause intellectual and developmental disabilities because his body will not be able to process part of the protein called phenylketonuria. The particular protein is found in nuts, milk, eggs and meats (1).
[ Read: Metabolic Disorders In Children ]
It causes a fishy kind of odor in your child’s sweat, breath and urine. The condition occurs when your child’s body is unable to break down trimethylaminuria and can lead to a very strong body odor (2).
[ Read: Causes Of Bad Breath In Children ]
3. Isovaleric Acidemia:
The condition can cause a very noticeable and strong odor of your child’s feet. It occurs due to a buildup of organic acids in your child’s blood (3).
The condition is best diagnosed if your child sweats excessively and also has a distinct body odor. It occurs due to genetic reasons.
What Are The Types Of Sweat Glands?
Sweat glands are of two types – the eccrine glands and the apocrine glands (4).
- Eccrine Glands:
The eccrine glands are the most common sweat glands in your child’s body. They are spread all over your child’s body, and the sweat that they produce is mostly made of water and salt. The sweat generated from the eccrine glands helps to keep your child’s body at the right temperature. As the sweat from the eccrine glands evaporates, your child’s body cools down.
- Apocrine Glands:
The apocrine glands are located on different parts of your child’s body, like in the underarm area and around the groin. The sweat produced from these glands is sometimes like regular sweat and sometimes oily. The apocrine glands produce sweat once your child hits puberty. The apocrine glands make sweat at the same time as that of the eccrine glands. They can also produce more sweat if your child is stressed or anxious.
[ Read: Symptoms Of Ingrown Toenails In Kid ]
Why Does Sweating Cause Child Body Odor?
Sweating may not create body odor in your child, but there are other reasons that could be causing the smell. Here are some causes for your child’s body odor:
- In most cases, the smell can cause bacteria to breed on your child’s skin and clothes. The bacteria further use the sweat on your child’s body to breed and grow.
- The eccrine gland produces sweat on your child’s feet, especially when your child wears closed shoes or socks. The bacteria can use the sweat and moisture here to thrive and grow, which can cause a lot of body odor.
- If your child’s feet are often damp, it can also cause yeast to grow in the area and create an unpleasant odor.
- Many times, the sweat from your child’s skin also gets transferred to the clothes. If he wears the same clothes for a long time, it can cause bacteria to grow on the clothes too and create body odor.
- The sweat from the apocrine glands is produced around the groin region and under your child’s arms. Most bacteria grow and thrive in these moist and damp areas and produce the unpleasant body odor.
- Sometimes, if your child has had a meal full of garlic, spices or some other herbs, it can also cause a change in the smell of his sweat.
[ Read: Types Of Fungal Infections In Children ]
How Can You Prevent Body Odor In Your Child?
While you may be trying various methods, here are some things you can try to prevent body odour in children:
- Make sure your child takes a bath regularly. If required, give your child a bath multiple times in a day. Check that your child washes certain parts of his body even if he does not take a bath right then. Give special attention to areas like under the arms, the neck area, the feet and the groin area. Once your child has washed himself or taken a bath, make sure that he dries himself properly to avoid the growth of bacteria.
- Wash your child’s clothes regularly and make it a habit to change their clothes at least twice in a day. Change it more times if required, especially if the weather is hot.
- Check that your child’s shoes are clean. In case they are wet, make sure they are completely dry before your child wears them again. To make it easier, keep two pairs of shoes that your child wears the most. Use one pair on a regular basis and when it gets wet, use the alternate pair till the other one gets dry.
- Let your child wear cotton socks instead of synthetic ones. Make sure your child does not repeat the socks and changes them after each use. Teach your child to wash his feet regularly, especially after taking off shoes. Drying the feet is also very important to prevent the growth of bacteria and any body odor.
- Check with your child’s doctor and use an anti-bacterial soap during bath and washing time.
Now you know how to treat body odor in children. If your child has a distinct body odor, do not panic and instead look for a reason. Make the necessary changes and if nothing works, schedule an appointment with the doctor. Has your child ever suffered from body odor? What did you do about it? Tell us here.
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