Acceptability of massage with skin barrier-enhancing emollients in young neonates in Bangladesh

A. S.M.Nawshad Uddin Ahmed, Samir K. Saha, Azad Chowdhury, Paul A. Law, Robert E. Black, Mathuram Santosham, Gary L. Darmstadt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Oil massage of newborns has been practised for generations in the Indian sub-continent; however, oils may vary from potentially beneficial, e.g. sunflower seed oil, to potentially toxic, e.g. mustard oil. The study was carried out to gain insights into oil-massage practices and acceptability of skin barrier-enhancing emollients in young, preterm Bangladeshi neonates. Preterm infants of <33 weeks gestational age were randomized to high-linoleate sunflower seed oil, Aquaphor Original Emollient Ointment™, or the comparison group (usual care). A survey was administered at admission to assess routine skin-care practices prior to admission and at discharge to assess acceptability of emollient therapy during hospitalization. Oil massage was given to 83 (21%) of 405 babies before hospital admission, 86% (71/83) of whom were delivered at home. Application of oil, most commonly mustard oil (88%, 73/83), was started within one hour of birth in 51 cases (61%) and was applied all over the body (89%, 74/83) one to six (mean 2.2) times before admission. Of infants who received emollient therapy in the hospital, 42% (n=32) of mothers reported that the emollient applied in the hospital was better than that available at home, and only 29% would use the same oil (i.e. mustard oil) in the future as used previously at home. No problems resulted from use of emollient in the hospital. Topical therapy with sunflower seed oil or Aquaphor was perceived by many families to be superior to mustard oil. If caregivers and health professionals can be motivated to use inexpensive, available emollients, such as sunflower seed oil that are beneficial, emollient therapy could have substantial public-health benefit.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)236-240
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Health, Population and Nutrition
Volume25
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2007

Keywords

  • Bangladesh
  • Bathing
  • Emollient
  • Oil massage
  • Prospective studies
  • Skin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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