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:
Baby Eczema Risk Factors And The Environment
While baby eczema is the result of immune-system dysfunction, likely from a genetic predisposition, studies have found a number of risk factors.
For example, a study published in February 2018 in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health suggested that children have a higher risk of developing eczema if their mothers experienced high-stress situations during pregnancy.
In a study published in May 2018 in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, researchers in the United Kingdom analyzed the sociodemographic characteristics of about 675,000 children in a primary-care database. They found that the children were more likely to be diagnosed with eczema if they fit one of the following descriptions:
- Black Caribbean
- Of high socioeconomic status
Another study, published in May 2018 in the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, looked at how the outdoor environment specifically air pollutants and meteorological conditions affected eczema risk in children of both sexes. The researchers concluded that high levels of carbon monoxide, ammonia, formaldehyde, lead, particulate matter, and ozone levels may all influence the development of infantile eczema.
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.
What Are The Best Treatments For My Babys Hives
Most mild cases of baby hives will eventually go away on their own. But for those pesky hives that linger around and irritate your sweet baby, we have some options for you!
The best treatment for baby hives is to remove the irritant that caused the breakout in the first place. However, as mentioned above, this is often not possible. As such, other treatments must be used to heal your babys hives. Below are some easy treatment options.
What Are The Symptoms Of Baby Hives
Hives, officially known as urticaria, are relatively easy to identify. The one and only symptom to look for is, well, hives. Youll recognize them because they look similar to mosquito bitesred or pink raised bumps, sometimes with a white-ish center.
Other symptoms of baby hives include:
- Swelling of the skin
- Stinging or burning
Each hive can range in size from just one-fourth inch in diameter all the way up to three inches across. They may be in the shape of circles or ovals. Hives will often itch, but this isnt always the case.
Generally speaking, hives last anywhere from several hours to several days. However, a babys hives can sometimes last a few weeks or, in very rare cases, a few months.
In these chronic cases, the hives may seem to appear, vanish, and reappear in the blink of an eye. If your baby shows these symptoms, head to your pediatricians office as soon as possible.
Most of the time, hives will appear on your babys torso, arms, and legs but can break out anywhere on your infants body. They tend to show up quickly.
One minute, your baby will seem completely fine. Then in as little as 20 or 30 minutes, your little one may have hives all over their body.
This can be alarming, but theres no need to panic! Hives are an ordinaryand easily treatablecondition in newborns. Before we go over the best treatments for your babys hives, lets take a look at the causes.
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Natural Remedies For Baby Eczema
If you need some extra help soothing babys skin, these natural eczema treatments may make things better.
- Wet a washcloth. Drape cool, wet washcloths or gauze over your babys irritated skin for five to ten minutes at a time or however long you can get your squirmy worm to cooperate.
- Try an oatmeal bath. Sprinkle a bit of uncooked oatmeal, colloidal oatmeal or even baking soda into the tub when you wash your baby. All can naturally relieve eczema and irritation.
- Combat dry air. Running a cool-mist humidifier in your baby’s bedroom can help keep her skin super-hydrated. Clean it frequently to prevent bacteria and mold buildup.
- Dress your little one in layers. Sweating can reboot the eczema cycle, and thats the last thing you want. Layers let you customize babys outfit for toasty temps.
- Ask your pediatrician about probiotics. Studies are underway to see whether probiotics may ease eczema when added to dry baby formula or served as a dietary supplement. Get your doctor to weigh in before giving it a go.
Is A Cure Or Better Treatment For Eczema On The Horizon
Without a cure on the near horizon, we here at Johns Hopkins are creating an Eczema Day Treatment Unit to help our patients with moderate to severe eczema keep their symptoms under control and prevent flare-ups. We anticipate that this novel, multidisciplinary program will include experts from Child Life, behavioral psychology, allergy, dermatology and infectious diseases to provide the comprehensive care these children need care that cannot be provided in an average clinic visit.
A primary goal of the day treatment unit will be education children and their families will learn techniques such as wet-wrap therapy, to help deeply moisturize the skin. This therapy involves coating the skin with a topical ointment, followed by a greasy ointment like petroleum jelly, then dressing in wet pajamas, followed by dry pajamas, allowing the skin to soak in the moisture.
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How Can You Prevent Baby Eczema
If your baby has contact dermatitis, you can try your best to prevent a flare-up by identifying and avoiding common triggers, which might include:
- Moisture . Dress your baby in lightweight cotton clothing. Gently pat drool away when you see it.
- Scratchy fabrics. In addition to clothes and rugs, even your babys stuffed animals can trigger eczema.
- Allergens. Think pet dander, pollen or dust.
- Harsh detergents and soaps. Consider using a sensitive detergent when washing babys clothes and crib sheets.
Atopic Dermatitis Asthma And Allergies
Atopic dermatitis can exist with other known medical conditions. These other conditions are called comorbidities.
Atopic dermatitis is part of a group of allergic conditions. In fact, atopic means allergy. These include, asthma, hay fever and food allergies. If a child has one of these conditions, the likelihood of developing another atopic condition is increased. Contact dermatitis is also considered atopic, though its connection to asthma and hay fever is unknown.
About 50 percent of children with moderate to severe atopic dermatitis develop allergic asthma. Symptoms of allergic asthma include:
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What Causes Atopic Dermatitis In A Child
The exact cause of atopic dermatitis is not known. But some things are linked to it. They include:
Genes. This skin problem can be passed on from parents to a child.
Immune system. An immune system that isnt fully developed may affect how much protection the skin can give.
External factors. These include being in winter weather, using hot water for bathing, using soap, and being in dry, hot temperatures.
Itchy Rash Over Whole Body
When do you have an arm rash? You get an arm rash if there is a change in texture, color or appearance in the skin on parts or whole of your arm skin. Rashes can be presented in varying ways such as raised patches, scaling formation of bumps. Your arm skin can also get damaged with cracks or develop a characteristic dry skin.
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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.
Triggers Of Eczema Flare
- Soaps. Never use bubble bath. It can cause a major flare-up.
- Pollens. Keep your child from lying on the grass during grass pollen season.
- Animals. Avoid any animals that make the rash worse.
- Foods. If certain foods cause severe itching , avoid them.
- Wool. Avoid wool fibers and clothes made of other scratchy, rough materials.
- Dry Air. Use a humidifier if the air in your home is dry.
- Herpes Virus Infection . Keep your child away from anyone with fever blisters . The herpes virus can cause a serious skin infection in children with eczema.
- Eczema is not caused by laundry soap you use to wash clothing.
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New Innovations In The Treatment Of Eczema In Children
Tacrolimus ointment this is an investigational ointment currently being tested in the U.S. for the treatment of eczema. It suppresses the part of the immune system that is responsible for the eczema rash and itching. This ointment is showing great promise, and will hopefully be available soon. It appears to be just as effective as steroid creams but does not have many of the side effects that the steroids have.
How To Tell If Your Child Has Eczema
Is it just a rash, or is it a more serious skin condition? Dermatologist Dr. Anna Kirkorian shares four ways you can spot signs of eczema on your child.
Kids get skin rashes from time to time, so when your little one has red patches on their face, how do you know if its eczema or another skin condition such as heat rash, acne or hives? Dermatologist Dr. Anna Kirkorian shares four ways you can spot signs of eczema on your child.
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Other Types Of Eczema
Eczema is the name for a group of skin conditions that cause dry, irritated skin.
Other types of eczema include:
- discoid eczema a type of eczema that occurs in circular or oval patches on the skin
- contact dermatitis a type of eczema that occurs when the body comes into contact with a particular substance
- varicose eczema a type of eczema that most often affects the lower legs and is caused by problems with the flow of blood through the leg veins
- seborrhoeic eczema a type of eczema where red, scaly patches develop on the sides of the nose, eyebrows, ears and scalp
- dyshidrotic eczema a type of eczema that causes tiny blisters to erupt across the palms of the hands
Page last reviewed: 05 December 2019 Next review due: 05 December 2022
What Does It Look Like
The signs of eczema in infants include itchy, dry and scaly skin, redness and swelling of the skin and small bumps that open and weep when scratched. In infants and young children, eczema is usually found on the face, outside of the elbows, and on the knees.
In older children and adults, eczema tends to be on the hands and feet, the arms, and on the back of the knees.Keep in mind that all patches of dry skin are not eczema. The cold, dry outdoor air and indoor heating can dry all babies skin in winter, causing dry patches. In children prone to dry skin, so can the sun, air conditioning, and pool and salt water.
We dermatologists usually say if its not itchy, its not eczema you cant make a diagnosis of eczema unless there is an itchiness that goes with the rash. Babies with cradle cap, also known as seborrheic dermatitis, can also have a wide-spread rash, which is not eczema in itself. But it is common for cradle cap and eczema to co-exist in the first several months of life.
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Signs Of An Infection
Occasionally, areas of skin affected by atopic eczema can become infected. Signs of an infection can include:
- your eczema getting a lot worse
- fluid oozing from the skin
- a yellow crust on the skin surface or small yellowish-white spots appearing in the eczema
- the skin becoming swollen and sore
- feeling hot and shivery and generally feeling unwell
See a doctor as soon as possible if you think your or your child’s skin may have become infected.
Page last reviewed: 05 December 2019 Next review due: 05 December 2022
What Does Baby Eczema Look Like
Eczema doesn’t look the same on every baby. In babies with light skin, it usually shows up as patches of red skin. In darker-skinned babies, the rash might look purplish, brownish, or grayish. Eczema can be harder to see on babies with dark skin.
These patches are almost always dry, itchy, and rough.
Babies can get the condition just about anywhere on their body. Most often, it affects their cheeks and the joints of their arms and legs.
Its easy to confuse baby eczema with cradle cap. But there are some key differences.
Cradle cap is much less itchy and irritated. It generally clears up by age 8 months and usually appears on the scalp, sides of the nose, eyelids and eyebrows, and behind the ears. See a photo of what cradle cap looks like.
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How Is Eczema Diagnosed
There is no specific test used to diagnose eczema. The doctor will look at the rash and ask about symptoms, the child’s past health, and the family’s health. If family members have any atopic conditions, that’s an important clue.
The doctor will rule out other conditions that can cause skin inflammation, and might recommend that your child see a dermatologist or an allergist.
The doctor may ask you to ban some foods from your child’s diet, switch detergents or soaps, or make other changes for a time to see if your child is reacting to something.
Key Points About Atopic Dermatitis In Children
Atopic dermatitis is a long-term skin condition. It’s common in babies and children.
A child with allergies or family members with atopic dermatitis has a higher chance of having atopic dermatitis.
Itching, dryness, and redness are common symptoms.
The goals of treatment are to ease itching and inflammation of the skin, increase moisture, and prevent infection.
Staying away from triggers is important to manage the condition.
It usually gets better or goes away as a child gets older.
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When To Contact A Doctor About Baby Eczema
If this is the first time baby is experiencing red or irritated skin, its best to contact your doctor to confirm whether its baby eczema or another condition. Once you get a diagnosis, you can start taking the appropriate steps and trying some baby eczema treatments.
But if the skin irritation is accompanied by a fever, or the bumps and patches start to ooze, scab or blister, it may be a sign of infection, and youll want to consult your childs doctor right away.
Can Breastfeeding Prevent Baby Eczema
Good news for nursing moms: There may be a correlation between breastfeeding and lower incidence of baby eczema. A study found that babies who were exclusively breastfed for the first three months of life were less likely to develop eczema through age 6. While breastfeeding may not completely prevent these rashes, it could potentially reduce some flareups.
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Complementary And Alternative Treatments
There are several natural treatments that have been shown to be effective controlling eczema symptoms. Many of these studies looked the effects on adults, so be sure to consult with your childs doctor prior to starting any natural treatments for eczema.
- National Eczema Association | 505 San Marin Drive, #B300 | Novato, CA 94945
- 415-499-3474 or 800-818-7546
The Atopic March Food Allergies And Eczema
Eczema and food allergies are very closely related. They are both considered allergic conditions, and they are both part of a progression known as the atopic march.
What is the atopic march? According to the atopic march, children with one allergic condition are at increased risk for others, and allergic conditions often appear in a certain order. In other words, one condition usually marches in front of the other, in a fairly predictable lineup.
Eczema comes before food allergies in the atopic march. This means babies usually develop eczema before food allergies, and babies with eczema are at the highest risk for food allergies.
But even though food allergies and eczema are closely related, and even though some symptoms may look similar, eczema rash is not the same as a food allergy reaction.
Food allergy rashes appear as raised bumps, which look different from the red, scaly rash of eczema. Learn more about how to tell the difference between a food allergy reaction and an eczema flare-up.
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