What Are The Symptoms Of Eczema In Children
Babies, toddlers, children, and teens can all suffer from varying degrees of eczema. The typical eczema rash is itchy, red, and bumpy, and with more severe rashes. Sometimes, kids experience an intense burning sensation.
Additionally, eczema is frequently accompanied by:
- Localized pain
For the youngest of patients, crying, irritability, and disrupted sleep add to the discomforts of eczema.
Most of these rashes appear on the arms and legs, particularly at the elbow creases and backs of the knees. The face particularly around the mouth and the scalp may be affected, as well as the upper torso and hands.
What Can Trigger Eczema
Individual trigger factors vary from person to person, some trigger factors may be easy to identify whilst others may not be so easy to work out. If you suspect a specific food or something in the environment may be a trigger factor keeping a symptoms diary can help work out patterns of exposure and signs and symptoms and may be useful to provide to your doctor.
Eczema may be made worse by coming into contact with one or more of the following trigger factors:
- Heat or changes in temperature
- Irritants for example
- Chemicals for example swimming in chlorinated water
- Fabrics like wool or synthetics
- Food allergy or intolerances
- Contact allergens in the environment for example house dust mite, pollen or animal dander can make eczema worse.
- Viral or bacterial infections
- Changes in the weather or sudden changes in temperature
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.
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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.
Common Symptoms Of Eczema In Children
You may notice the development of eczema in your childs elbow creases and feet. In some cases, these rashes may also develop around your childs mouth, neck, ankle, wrists, and the crease of the buttocks. Besides rashes that develop due to continuous scratching of the red and itchy patches, you may also notice some other symptoms that are likely to appear with the progress of the skin condition. These symptoms include:
- Darkening or lightening of the patches
- Hardening of the patches or the affected area
- Formation of blisters due to constant scratches
- Increased itchiness of the hardened patches
- Inflammation in the area, giving the appearance of goosebumps
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How Can Parents Help
Help prevent or treat eczema by keeping your child’s skin from getting dry or itchy and avoiding triggers that cause flare-ups. Try these suggestions:
- Kids should take short baths or showers in warm water. Use mild unscented soaps or non-soap cleansers and pat the skin dry before putting on cream or ointment. Teens should use unscented makeup and oil-free facial moisturizers.
- Ask your doctor if it’s OK to use oatmeal soaking products in the bath to help control itching.
- Kids should wear soft clothes that “breathe,” such as those made from cotton. Wool or polyester may be too harsh or irritating.
- Keep your child’s fingernails short to prevent skin damage from scratching. Try having your child wear comfortable, light gloves to bed if scratching at night is a problem.
- Kids should avoid becoming overheated, which can lead to flare-ups.
- Kids should drink plenty of water, which adds moisture to the skin.
- Get rid of known allergens in your household and help your child avoid others, like pollen, mold, and tobacco smoke.
- Stress can make eczema worse. Help your child find ways to deal with stress .
What Triggers Eczema In Kids
The causes of this chronic condition may still be up for grabs, but its triggersthe stuff that sets it offare well-known. When your child comes in contact with one of these triggers, her over-reactive immune system , responds by causing inflammation in the body. Keep in mind, not every child who has eczema has the same triggers, and it can take some detective work on your part to figure out which ones set her off. But once you do, it makes it much easier to prevent flareups. These are some of the culprits to watch out for.
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Causes Of Childhood Eczema
Like some of lifes greatest mysteries, the exact reason kids get eczema remains unknown. However, doctors believe genetics are a main suspect. Approximately 70% of people with eczema have a family history of atopic diseases .
Basically, if you or your partner have one of these conditions, your childs chances of developingeczema just jumped two to three times higher. And if both of you have it, your tots risk increases three to five times . But dont panic, even if both parents have eczema, its still not a guarantee that your child will get it, too.
Research also shows that some people with eczema have a mutation in the gene responsible for creating filaggrin, a protein that keeps the top layer of skin strong. This mutation means the skins surface is weak, so moisture has easy access out and bacteria and viruses have easy access in. This is often the reason people with eczema tend to have very dry and infection-prone skin. Kids with this gene mutation may have earlier onset eczema, and their condition may be more severe and persistent.
Are There Likely To Be Any Complications Of Eczema
It’s important to control your child’s eczema – uncontrolled eczema can lead to poor sleep which can have long-term effects on learning and behaviour.
Children with eczema are more likely to get skin infections.
Eczema makes the skin dry and cracked and increases the chance of infection by bacteria and viruses . Infected eczema may be wet, crusted or painful. See your doctor for treatment.
If your child’s eczema gets worse or becomes infected, you will need to take them to your doctor. Sometimes, a hospital stay may be necessary.
It’s important to control your child’s eczema. Uncontrolled eczema can lead to poor sleep which can have long-term effects on learning and behaviour.
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From Mild To Severe: How Serious Is Your Eczema
The seriousness of eczema symptoms can vary a great deal between people. With mild eczema, you may have nothing more than small areas of dry skin that get a bit itchy from time to time.
In more serious cases, eczema inflames skin all over your body and causes relentless itching that can be hard to ignore. It might even be hard to focus on school or work. In addition, you may scratch in your sleep, causing cuts and tears that lead to regular infection.
The inflammation often reddens lighter-colored skin noticeably. It may be harder to see on darker skin, but it sometimes causes gray, purple, or darker brown coloration.
When To Speak With A Doctor
It is advisable to speak with a doctor if symptoms become more severe or if it is difficult to manage the condition at home. If eczema is beginning to impact a childs everyday life, such as disrupting sleep or there are frequent infections from scratching their skin, a parent caregiver can consider contacting a doctor.
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What Triggers My Childs Eczema Or Causes It To Get Worse
Some of the most common eczema triggers include:
Even your babys stuffed animals may be a trigger for eczema
- Dry skin
- Allergens such as pet dander, pollen or dust
Your childs eczema may be worse in the winter when the air is dry. Saliva from drooling can also cause irritation on your babys cheeks, chin and neck.
The best way to manage your childs eczema is by getting to know their symptoms and triggers so that you can help keep it under control.
How Can Eczema In Children Be Managed
Eczema treatment begins with an in-office examination by your pediatric dermatologist. The doctor will examine your childs skin and ask about when rashes appear and what may trigger them. Also, the doctor will inquire about the youngsters medical history, including asthma and allergies.
The treatment plans for eczema are individually tailored to reduce symptoms and keep skin healthy. Your pediatric dermatologist may advise:
- Topical medications, which may or may not contain corticosteroids for inflammation
- Hydration through drinking plenty of water
- Bathing with tepid water and applying moisturizing cream or ointment
- Avoiding any known triggers, such as laundry soaps with fragrances and dyes
- In-office UVB light therapy
- New injectable medications
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What Are The Symptoms Of Eczema In Older Children
In toddlers under age 5, eczema usually affects the face. It can look red and bumpy. It can look also scaly and dry, or you may notice deep lines on their skin.
Children over 5 years old may have eczema that is red and itchy or rash-looking. It may also look like permanent goosebumps and be thicker. On dark skin, the thickening may be hyperpigmented.
Skin concerns may be a symptom of a different condition, so seeing a dermatologist can help determine whether the cause is eczema or something else.
Certain areas of the body are more likely to be affected by eczema than others. This can change, depending on your age.
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.
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Medical Treatment For Eczema
Eczema cant be cured. But it can be managed by preventing and treating flare-ups as soon as they appear.
If your childs skin is inflamed and itchy, theyll probably need some corticosteroid ointment or cream. For mild eczema, you can buy mild corticosteroids over the counter at your pharmacy. The most common is hydrocortisone 1% cream. For more serious eczema or if the over-the-counter products arent working, youll need to see your GP to get a prescription for a stronger corticosteroid.
Other eczema treatments include pimecrolimus, a non-steroidal cream. Doctors might prescribe this cream for children with mild to moderate eczema on the face and in body folds.
If your child is scratching at a rash, you could ask your pharmacist or GP about using an antihistamine medication for a few days. Together with a corticosteroid cream, this might give your child some rest and help the flare-up to settle.
If your childs eczema rash gets infected, your doctor will prescribe a course of oral antibiotics.
Can Eczema Happen In Adulthood
Eczema can and does occur in adults. Sometimes, eczema starts in childhood, clears up for a while, and then returns later on. In other people, it may suddenly appear for the first time as an adult.
According to the National Eczema Association, 1 in 4 adults report that their symptoms first appeared in adulthood. Multiracial or white adults have the highest prevalence of adult-onset eczema, although studies vary on the specific percentages.
Overall, approximately 10 percent of adults in the United States are living with eczema.
Adults can get any type of eczema, including atopic dermatitis. Certain types of eczema are more common in adults. These can include:
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When To Schedule A Medical Appointment
If this isnt your toddlers first go-round with eczema, you may not need to call your doctor. But if the eczema is new or looks different than before, its OK to call and get another set of eyes on your childs rash. There may be other medications or treatments your childs doctor can prescribe to help them feel better, too.
- You think your childs eczema rash is infected, which may look crusty or scabbed, or if its weeping or oozing.
- The rash is cracked or bleeding.
- Your child is having trouble sleeping because of eczema discomfort.
- Your child has never had symptoms of eczema before.
- Your child has a fever or seems to not be feeling well.
- None of your usual remedies for your childs eczema are working.
Is Eczema Something To Worry About
Eczema in children is a chronic condition, but its one you can help control. If the methods you try at home are not helping, try a topical anti-inflammatory medicine, such as hydrocortisone 1 percent that you can find at any pharmacy.
If the eczema still doesnt respond, take your child to your GP who might prescribe hydrocortisone 2.5 percent for moderate eczema or triamcinolone 0.1 percent for severe eczema. Also, if a fever or pain accompanies the rash, your child should see a doctor.
If your child has eczema, you shouldnt worry. Some children outgrow eczema completely, and some have only occasional flare-ups as they age.
* This article is for general informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be providing medical advice and is not a substitute for such advice. The reader should always consult a health care provider concerning any medical condition or treatment plan. Neither Care.com nor the author assumes any responsibility or liability with respect to use of any information contained herein.
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Remind Me Whats Eczema Again
Eczema is a non-contagious inflammatory skin condition that causes red, raw, and itchy skin. The desire to scratch is so great that many people with eczema have scabs or even scars from making their skin bleed.
While the disease can affect people of all ages, its most common in kidsin fact, nine million children in the U.S. are dealing with eczema right now.
There are seven types of eczema, the most common being atopic dermatitis, which first strikes in childhood. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, its the most common skin problem treated bypediatric dermatologists: About 65% of kids with eczema develop symptoms of atopic dermatitis before age one and about 90% developing symptoms by age five. To plug that into the big picture, about 15% of all children haveeczema compared with only 2% to 4% of adults. So, basically, kids are the OG eczema patients. Word.
Whats The Difference Between Eczema And Psoriasis
Diagnosing eczema can be tricky sometimes.
Other skin conditions can look like eczema, but a dermatologist can tell the difference. If there is a case where the doctor isnât quite sure, a new genetic test can help them make the appropriate diagnosis.
The underlying cause of the two conditions is different:
- Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition. This means the immune system is not working as it should and skin cells grow too fast, piling up.
- Eczema is more complicated and unknown. Both genetic and environmental factors may be involved.
Psoriasis itching tends to be on the mild side, whereas the itching associated with eczema can be intense.
In older adults, eczema is usually on the backs of the knees and inside of the elbows. Psoriasis is often found on the scalp, elbows, knees, buttocks, and face.
Eczema is more common than psoriasis in children.
Aside from psoriasis, other skin conditions can look like eczema but arenât. Knowing the underlying cause and identifying the condition correctly is the best way to get appropriate treatment.
A dermatologist will be able to diagnose the condition based on:
- your reported symptoms
There is no cure for eczema, but it can be treated and managed. By working with a dermatologist or allergist, you can help reduce your chances of flare-ups, minimize symptoms, and keep your skin healthy.
Treatment is based on three concepts, according to the NEA:
Medication may be OTC or prescription, depending on the type and severity of your eczema.
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What Else Is Happening At Johns Hopkins Today
We go out of our way to provide the comprehensive care our patients with eczema need. On a case-by-case basis, we communicate with one another whether in allergy, dermatology, psychology or infectious disease to put together the best course of treatment for each child.We are optimistic that future therapies and approaches to care for those with even severe eczema are going to be greatly improved with more research and that the creation of the Eczema Day Treatment Unit will help us conduct cutting edge research and answer questions we face every day seeing and treating patients.