Helping Your Child Cope With Eczema At School
Its a good idea to discuss your childs eczema diagnosis with the teacher at the start of the school year. A teacher who is familiar with eczema can help your child cope with the practical aspects of the condition and any social or emotional issues that may arise in the classroom.
To help the teacher make your childs school experience as normal as possible, set up a meeting to discuss your childs eczema and what you have learned about coping. Below are some topics you may wish to cover in your meeting.
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Can My Baby Grow Out Of Eczema
October 19, 2018 By Crystal Vera
Atopic dermatitis eczema is a common medical condition in which the skin becomes itchy, red, inflamed and irritated. For the millions of people of all ages who suffer from eczema, the symptoms can disappear for months, maybe years, then can flare up often without warning.
While painful and often unsightly, eczema is not contagious nor is it considered dangerous to the patient or anyone around him. However, for babies and children who develop eczema, life can be pretty uncomfortable. If your baby is diagnosed with eczema, you will want to know what caused it , how to treat it and, of course, will your baby outgrow it. Here are some answers to your questions about your baby and eczema.
Ways To Soothe Your Babys Eczema
When your baby is itchy and in pain, youll do anything to help her feel better. Four experts weigh in on what actually works.
Watching your baby wail in discomfort from red, irritated, eczema-flared skin can make you feel like youre at your wits end, so we asked experts for tips on how to get the itchy condition under control.
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Baby Eczema And Cradle Cap Symptoms
- Thickened skin
- Darkened skin on the eyelids and around the eyes
- Changes to the skin around the mouth, eyes, or ears
Cradle cap causes symptoms not commonly seen in other types of infantile eczema, such as greasy yellow scales on the scalp that sometimes appear in a thick layer covering the entire top of the head. Over time, the scales become flaky and rub off.
Most babies do not appear to be bothered by cradle cap, though it sometimes itches.
A baby with atopic dermatitis has an increased risk of other atopic conditions, including asthma, hay fever, and food allergies.
How Is It Treated
Because there is not yet a cure for eczema, our treatment goals are to reduce itching and skin inflammation, and to prevent infection. The best treatment for eczema is a proactive one, using gentle skin care and moisturizers to re-establish the skin barrier.
Infants and older childrens skin should be kept well moisturized, and washed with fragrance-free non-soap cleansers. We also recommend a fragrance-free ointment-based moisturizer, with petrolatum as either the only or the first ingredient. In young children and infants, it is reasonable to use an over-the-counter topical hydrocortisone ointment, which is a mild topical steroid, for up to a week.
But if the rash either persists or you find that you need to use the hydrocortisone more than one week out of the month, you should discuss further use with your childs pediatrician. You can apply the ointment, as prescribed, then a coat of petrolatum-based moisturizer, to help keep in the moisture.
If your childs skin does not respond well to any of these measures or becomes infected, contact your pediatrician, who can diagnose the condition and then prescribe another topical cream or antihistamine.
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Progression Of Eczema In Infants And Children
Baby eczema is most prominent on the cheeks, forehead, and scalp of an infant within the first few months of life, and often tends to make the skin look more red and weepy than at other ages.
The eczema can appear on other parts of the body as well, including the diaper area.
When the infant begins to crawl, usually between 6 and 12 months, eczema will typically affect the elbows and knees, which rub on the ground. The eczema rash can become infected, resulting in a yellowish crust or tiny bumps of pus.
When the child is around age 2, eczema may begin to appear on the inside of the elbows and behind the knees, as well as on the wrists, ankles, and hands. It may also appear around the mouth and eyelids.
This eczema tends to be drier, scalier, and thicker .
Wear Gloves To Protect The Skin On Your Hands
Wear vinyl or plastic gloves for work that requires you to have your hands in water. Also, wear gloves when your hands are exposed to anything that can irritate your skin. Wear cotton gloves under plastic gloves to soak up sweat from your hands. Take occasional breaks and remove your gloves. This will prevent a buildup of sweat inside your gloves.
Wear gloves when you go outside during the winter. Cold air and low humidity can dry your skin. Dryness can make your eczema worse. Wear clothes made of cotton or a cotton blend. Wool and some synthetic fabrics can irritate your skin.
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Questions To Ask Your Doctor
- What treatment is best for me?
- Should I use a steroid cream or ointment?
- What are the side effects from the steroid cream or ointment?
- Do I need to take any other medicines?
- What is the best way to prevent flare-ups from eczema and atopic dermatitis?
- Is there a certain type of soap I should use?
- My child has eczema. What kind of moisturizer is best for him/her?
- How can I keep my child from scratching the rash?
- I have eczema. Will my children have it?
- How should I care for the rash if I have a flare-up?
What Are The Symptoms Of Eczema
Eczema is a chronic condition which causes red, itchy areas on the skin. Sometimes the itching is very severe. When skin is scratched it can break open, ooze and then crust over. Symptoms of eczema can come and go. Babies with eczema often have it on their cheeks, forehead and scalp. Older children often have it on their hands, wrists, ankles, feet, and on the inside folds of their elbows and knees.
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Can A Cradle Cap Cause Eczema In Babies
Cradle cap causes symptoms not commonly seen in other types of infantile eczema, such as greasy yellow scales on the scalp that sometimes appear in a thick layer covering the entire top of the head. Over time, the scales become flaky and rub off. Most babies do not appear to be bothered by cradle cap,
Baby Has Eczema Spots All Over Her Body Due To The Cold Dry Weather But Nothing Is Helping Is It Really Eczema Is There Something Else I Can Use
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Diagnosing Food Allergy And Eczema Flare
- Your child’s doctor may suggest the steps listed below:
- Remove the suspected food or foods from your child’s diet for 2 weeks. The eczema should greatly improve.
- Then give your child that food when the eczema is under good control. This is called a “challenge.”
- If the food is causing flare-ups, the eczema should become itchy and red. The flare-up should occur quickly within 2 hours of eating the food.
- If this occurs, avoid giving this food to your child. Talk to your child’s doctor about the need for any food substitutes.
- If the eczema does not flare-up, your child isn’t allergic to that food.
Managing Eczema In Winter And Year Round: A Parents Guide
Cold, dry outdoor air and indoor heating can rob skin of its natural moisture in the winter. Red, crusty, dry patches can be common on a baby’s skin, particularly in winter, and cause concern for parents. Such symptoms can be treated, however, and many babies and children do outgrow the dry, itchy skin of atopic dermatitis, also known as eczema.
We spoke with pediatric dermatologist Katherine Puttgen to learn more.
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How Does Baby Eczema Differ From Dry Skin
Dry skin is a symptom of eczema. Your pediatrician can diagnose eczema by examining your baby’s skin. He or she may send you to a pediatric dermatologist for confirmation and treatment if the condition is severe.
In general, dry skin can be handled at home with some moisturizer and isnt as bothersome as eczema. However, babies with darker skin tend to have drier skin than those with lighter skin making moisturization even more crucial.
When To See A Doctor
While you can do a lot to control your babys eczema, sometimes you have to seek medical attention. Look out for the following signs and see a doctor if any of these occur.
- Unresponsiveness to over-the-counter medications. There are a lot of over-the-counter creams available that can sooth eczema. These ointments are very good at treating eczema for your baby. If they arent working, however, you should see a doctor to get prescription medicine instead.
- Changes in responsiveness to prescription medicine. Just because one medicine is working today doesnt mean it will always work. If you have prescription medication for your babys eczema and you see it doesnt work as well as it previously did to control symptoms, its time to reevaluate the medicine. Your doctor will be able to examine your baby and see if another medicine will be better.
- Appearance of yellow crust on the eczema patches. Yellow crust indicates that there may be a bacterial infection. This needs to be checked out immediately by a doctor because if it goes untreated, it will get worse. Your doctor will be able to determine if antibiotics should be prescribed to stop the infection.
- Development of pus-filled blisters on the eczema patches. Blisters are also a sign that there may be an infection. They are also very painful and a sign that the eczema isnt being managed adequately. A doctor can evaluate your management plan and make adjustments, so you can better control your childs eczema symptoms.
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Where Does Eczema Most Often Appear
Eczema tends to appear in different places on the body in younger babies, older babies, and toddlers. It also tends to look different depending on a childs age. Here are the eczema symptoms to look for in babies and toddlers of each age group, as outlined by the National Eczema Association.
Remember, though, that eczema could appear in any area of the body, regardless of your little ones age. The table below just outlines where eczema appears most often.
In young infants, baby eczema usually appears on the face at this stage, including the chin, cheeks, scalp, and forehead. But it could appear on any area of the body, including the arms, legs, or torso. It usually wont appear in the diaper area, because that area usually remains protected by moisture.
At this stage, skin affected by eczema often looks red and weepy .
In older babies, eczema usually appears on creases of the skin, especially on the elbows, knees, and elbow and knee joints. It may also appear on the face, like with younger infants. Again, though, it could appear on any area of the body, but not usually the diaper area.
Sometimes, baby eczema rash may become infected and form a yellow crust on the skin.
In toddlers, eczema often appears on the face in patches. It may show up around the eyelids or around the mouth. It also often appears in the skin creases .
How Do I Tell The Difference
The difference between eczema and dry skin is simply, dry skin is exactly that, dry. Its caused when the skin lacks water in the upper layer of the skin, the epidermis. Dry skin is often triggered by low humidity in the surrounding air, so its more common in colder months and drier climates. However, there may be other triggers like too many hot baths or showers, Hormonal changes, detergents or strong soaps.
The main areas normally affected by dry skin are the Hands, lower legs, and forearms. Normally the symptoms are itchiness, pale or dull skin and dry flaky skin. However, the condition normally wont cause anything worse than an irresistible urge to scratch and dry skin appearance.
People with mild eczema may only have small areas of dry skin that are occasionally itchy. In more severe cases, atopic eczema can cause widespread red, inflamed skin all over the body and constant itching. Scratching can cause the skin to break with can lead to flare-ups, infection and high temperatures.
Other side effects of eczema can be lack of sleep due to scratching, low morale and depression due to the constant care needed and the pain and suffering eczema can cause. The skin can become darker and leather-like patches due to long-term use of steroid creams. Long-term use of steroids can also lead to low testosterone levels in males.
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How To Check For Lice
Head lice can cause an itchy scalp, but so can other skin conditions, such as dandruff, eczema, or even allergies to shampoo and other hair products. Therefore, its important to know how to check for lice, especially on children.
First, wet your childs hair. This slows the lice down and makes them easier to spot. Use a fine-toothed comb to part your childs hair, then shine a bright light onto their scalp. Get a comb for finding lice here.
If your child has lice, youll notice small, brown insects the size of sesame seeds moving around or nits that look like theyre cemented on to individual hairs.
You may be unsure if you see dirt or lice and nits. Lice and nits are often difficult to comb out, while you can easily remove dirt.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Seborrheic Dermatitis In Children
Sometimes seborrheic dermatitis appears on the infants face, especially around the eyes and nose area. It can also appear in the diaper area and in the folds of babies skin.
Seborrheic dermatitis in infants typically goes away at ages 6 to 12 months. Dandruff usually persists into adulthood.
In infants and children, seborrheic dermatitis can appear on the scalp or body as:
A severe case of seborrheic dermatitis in an infant. Note the yellowish crust and scale.
- Yellow crust
- Red skin with white or yellow flakes on top
- Pink patches that join with the red skin
- Swollen areas of skin
For the most part, babies are unbothered by the symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis. For more severe cases, it is important to be on the lookout for any signs of infection such as skin that feels hot, weeps fluid or smells bad. Contact your health care provider if you suspect your child has an infection.
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Food Allergy And Eczema Flare
- Food allergies are a factor in 30% of young children with severe eczema. This factor is mainly seen in babies.
- The main allergic foods are cow’s milk and eggs.
- The main symptoms are increased skin redness and itching. Some parents report these symptoms start during or soon after the feeding.
- The eczema becomes easier to control if you avoid the allergic food.
Seborrheic Dermatitis In Children
Seborrheic dermatitis on an infants scalp is known as cradle cap.
Seborrheic dermatitis occurs in areas of the body where there are a lot of oil-producing glands such as the scalp, nose and back. In infants, seborrheic dermatitis usually appears on the scalp and is commonly known as cradle cap. In older children and adults, seborrheic dermatitis on the scalp is typically called dandruff.
The exact cause of seborrheic dermatitis is unknown, but it is believed to be a combination of factors including genes, yeast that lives naturally on the skin, stress, chemical irritants and/or dry, cold weather that causes the skin to overproduce oil. In infants, researchers believe seborrheic dermatitis is triggered in part by hormones from the mother.
Unlike other forms of eczema, seborrheic dermatitis is not the result of an allergy.
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Why Did My Child Develop Eczema
The exact cause of eczema is unknown. Researchers do know that children who develop eczema do so because of a combination of genes and environmental triggers. When something outside the body switches on the immune system, skin cells dont behave as they should causing flare ups.
We also know that children who come from families with a history of atopic dermatitis, asthma, or hay fever are more likely to develop atopic dermatitis.
How Reducing Indoor Allergens Can Ease Your Eczema Symptoms
Eczema usually isnt a persistent condition, but rather one marked by long symptom-free periods followed by flare-ups.
Various environmental factors may cause the immune system to respond as if the body has encountered a harmful substance, resulting in inflammation and worsening eczema symptoms.
These triggers may include a variety of allergens and irritants, such as:
- Pet dander, pollen, mold, and dust mites
- Allergenic foods
- Clothing made of wool or synthetic fibers
- Cigarette smoke
Theres no cure for baby eczema, but the condition usually becomes less severe over time.
Treatment focuses on managing skin dryness to prevent flare-ups and on reducing skin inflammation.
Doctors recommend the following strategies to parents whose babies have eczema:
Your doctor may also recommend other eczema treatments for your child, including:
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