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Nits, Noses and Nasties

Pregnancy, in my opinion, is one of the greatest preparations for the grimmer elements of parenting. Morning sickness gets us used to vomit. Which is just as well as your clothes, sofa, rug and in my case even cat, will get covered in it. A lot. Having to discuss all your bodily functions with the midwife may seem embarrassing initially but by the time you reach potty training poo is as normal a topic as the weather. The comments on the size of your bump and the self restraint you will need will be good practice for future comments on the behaviour of your toddler. When I imagined motherhood I can safely say that Mr Tumble and falling asleep in my dinner did not feature.

The fact is that being a parent is the great leveller. It doesn’t matter if you’re Kate Middleton or the zombie at Rhyme Time who got less than 7 minutes sleep last night – we all share the same revolting secret knowledge and don’t even blink at it. So here at HQ we decided it was time to get down to the nitty gritty and address the downright grotty issues which ScratchSleeves can help with.

Nits and headlice

Head lice are tiny parasitic insects that live on the human scalp and the term “nits” refers to their empty egg casing which they leave behind when they hatch. Headlice can only survive on human blood and need to feed 3 to 4 times a day which they do by biting into the scalp. They travel at up to 30cm a minute and grip hair tightly allowing them to transfer between hosts very quickly, most typically in a school environment when heads are close together.  They are a world wide, year round problem and whilst itchy and embarrassing they do not carry disease or signal poor hygiene. Because they reproduce quickly and extensively they can be very difficult to get rid of. The bites are itchy and if scratched can become infected.

Aside from spreading bacteria, nose picking can cause sores inside a child’s nose or even nose bleeds.

Yikes and yuck! What can you do about them?

Checking regularly and using special treatments if you get an infestation are key. Unfortunately, you will have to treat the whole family! NitWits have a great page with all the facts (click here). Wearing ScratchSleeves will prevent damage from nails and therefore guard against infection.

Scab picking

Scabs are the dry protective crusts that form over a healing wound. As anyone who’s had one knows they are itchy as they heal. They can also be lumpy and very dry around the edges. Fiddly little fingers are drawn to them and once they’ve lifted a bit the temptation to keep going is overwhelming.

What most little pickers don’t realise is that there is a lot going on under that lumpy dry scab. Damaged blood vessels are being repaired, new skin cells are fixing the rips in the surface and white blood cells are attacking any germs that got into the cut when it happened.

Picking scabs off early increases risk of infection, scarring and of course bleeding. So if your little one just can’t resist then plasters, bandages and ScratchSleeves are all your friends!

Have a look at our Useful Information page for further insights and solutions.

Nose picking

Similar to scab picking this seems to be something that children are drawn to do. Because little kids don’t worry about the socially unacceptable side of nose picking and may not yet know how to effectively blow their noses, this is something that most parents will have to deal with at some point. Aside from spreading bacteria, nose picking can cause sores inside a child’s nose or even nose bleeds.

How do we stop the rootling??

Saline drops and humidifiers both help to prevent dry nasal passages and therefore keep snot softer and less tempting for little fingers.

Making tissues readily available and teaching children how to use them can help once they reach school age. Googling tissues for children will give you a huge selection of fun, colourful packs aimed specifically at little people.

ScratchSleeves will also prevent nose picking as they stop a child being able to poke a single digit up and therefore excavating their nostrils. Talking of excavating…Tutankhamen had his own personal nose picker. Ancient scrolls were discovered in the 1970s which discussed his salary.

Nail biting

Nail biting is very common and can signal boredom or anxiety but may also be simple habit. Unless your child starts biting their nails very suddenly and aggressively it is normally nothing to worry about in terms of their mental state. However, repeatedly biting nails and worrying at the skin around them can lead to inflammation, open wounds and infection.

Lots of parents use foul tasting (non toxic) nail varnish to prevent biting. Distraction is also a popular ploy – giving them a fidget cube or putty to play with whilst on car journeys or watching television might help stop the boredom chewing. ScratchSleeves are great for stopping the subconscious biting as they provide a barrier between hands and mouth.

A surprising number of children also bite their toenails. Because children’s bones haven’t yet fully calcified and hardened they are generally more flexible than adults. Biting toenails is more of a medical concern as it can easily lead to ingrowing toenails due to the pressure put on the toes when walking. ScratchSleeves also make PJs and dungarees with a covered foot if this is a problem for you!

Fiddling with wobbly teeth

Anything new in the mouth is difficult to ignore and wobbly teeth invite tongue pushing and wobbling demonstrations with little fingers to hapless bystanders. All children lose their baby teeth and all children will at some point twist one of the teeth at a horrible angle and get them stuck. Whilst ScratchSleeves can’t stop your little one from putting on a gory show to anyone nearby, they can help prevent the dreaded twisting and definitely stop bacteria being transferred into the mouth.

So there it is – the most revolting post we’ve ever written.

Check out the links below for more articles on tackling common childhood issues with the help of ScratchSleeves.


As well as sharing our experience of bringing up an eczema child (and favourite allergy-friendly recipes), ScratchSleeves also manufacture and sell our unique stay-on scratch mitts and PJs for itchy babies, toddlers and children. We now stock sizes from 0-adult in a range of colours. Visit our webshop for more information.

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Written by:

Tess joined ScratchSleeves in 2016 and loves being able to help our little clients and other parents who are struggling.

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