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.
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.
Having A Dog In Home May Reduce Eczema Risk
The eternal dispute about whether dogs or cats are better will probably never end. When it comes to reducing the risk of a child developing AD, however, it appears that dog ownership wins.
A study published in the Journal of Pediatrics supports this. In this study, the childrens parents had one or more of these conditions atopic dermatitis, hay fever, or asthma. When a parent has one or more of these conditions, the child has an increased risk of developing AD.
For these children, having a dog in the house before the childs first birthday dramatically reduced the childs risk of developing AD by age 4. Having a cat in the home before a childs first birthday, however, increased the childs risk of developing AD.
When researchers analyzed earlier studies that looked at the effect of having a dog or cat in the home, they found a similar result. Having a dog in the home decreased the risk of a child developing AD by about 25%. Living with a cat did not increase or reduce the childs risk of developing AD.
Dogs and AD: Bottom line
The findings from studies suggest that having a dog in the home may reduce a childs risk of developing AD.
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Avoid Triggers And Treat Infection
Getting too hot from clothing or heating can make eczema worse – stay cool.
Avoid soap and fragrances
Soap and fragrances are the most common triggers of eczema. Only use skin care products designed for eczema. Many are available on prescription from your doctor or nurse prescriber.
Eczema is made worse by infection such as from:
- the cold sore virus which can cause severe painful infection of eczema
Avoid contact with cold sores. See your family doctor urgently if your child gets an infection from cold sores.
Removing foods from your child’s diet does not usually help eczema
Removing foods from your child’s diet does not usually help eczema and can be dangerous, leading to anaphylaxis.Please talk with your doctor about this.
Dont Forget About The Feet
Shoes can even be a concern. Thermoplastic, rubber-boxed toes, and the chemicals used in the shoe-tanning process can cause flare-ups around your babys ankles. Look for genuine or eco-leather shoes that are made of chrome-free leather. This will let your babys foot breathe easily, leading to fewer irritations.
Brand that Works for Ethan: Bobux. Their shoes are made from eco-leather and are chrome-free.
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When To Call A Doctor
Make the call if your babyâs eczema doesnât begin to get better within a week of starting over-the-counter hydrocortisone creams. It may be time for a prescription medicine.
Also check with your doctor if yellow or light brown crust or pus-filled blisters appear on top of the eczema. This could be the sign of a bacterial infection that needs antibiotics.
Does Eczema Really Go Away Did Your Baby Outgrow Eczema
If you Google about children outgrowing eczema, many authority websites will indeed state that children outgrow atopic dermatitis . Some say that by age of 4-5 years old children outgrow eczema. Others say by the age of 3. There may be occasional flareups and then it may resume again during puberty due to hormones and stress.
About half of those with eczema develop symptoms before they are 1 year old. Almost all children develop symptoms by age of 5 years old. About ¾ of children with eczema will have symptoms resolve before puberty. The rest will go on to have eczema as adults or eczema may come back suddenly.
Another paper states that atopic dermatitis persists in children who develop it during ages 2 to 5 years old. It can resolve by age 10 in 80% of children with eczema and by age 20 in up to 95% of afflicted people.
In other words, there is a very good chance your child will outgrow their eczema or eczema will go away with time.
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Should I Worry About Using The Topical Steroids Prescribed By My Healthcare Professional
No, you dont need to worry, as long as you follow your healthcare professionals specific instructions. Topical steroids are first-line treatments for babies with eczema. These creams have been used to treat eczema for more than 50 years, so there is a good understanding of how they work.
If you dont treat the eczema promptly and adequately, skin damage is far more likely to occur through scratching into the deeper layers of skin.
How Is Baby Eczema Treated
Treatment varies for baby eczema based on what caused your childs symptoms to flare up and the severity of their symptoms. Treatment for baby eczema could include:
- Eliminating or avoiding triggers: Avoid scented or fragranced soaps, lotions or detergents. These things can cause eczema to flare. Your provider might test your babys skin to identify if theyre allergic to certain things in their environment that they contact regularly. If youre able to identify what causes your babys eczema triggers, avoiding those causes helps your babys skin heal and prevents future eczema flare-ups.
- Using topical corticosteroids: These are prescription-strength ointments that you rub on your babys skin like a lotion. Corticosteroids help reduce itching and swelling. For mild eczema, apply topical OTC 1% hydrocortisone ointment twice a day for no longer than two weeks. For moderate to severe eczema, your healthcare provider may recommend prescription-strength steroid ointments. Any steroid ointment should not be applied for longer than two weeks since it may lead to discoloration by thinning out the skin.
- Applying moisturizer to your babys skin: Keeping your babys skin hydrated can reduce symptoms, soothe their skin, remove discomfort and prevent flare-ups. Choose moisturizers designed for babies and products that dont contain fragrances. The best time to apply moisturizers to your babys skin is after a bath and a couple of times throughout the day when their skin appears dry.
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When To Seek Medical Advice
See a GP if you have symptoms of atopic eczema. Theyll usually be able to diagnose atopic eczema by looking at your skin and asking questions, such as:
- whether the rash is itchy and where it appears
- when the symptoms first began
- whether it comes and goes over time
- whether theres a history of atopic eczema in your family
- whether you have any other conditions, such as allergies or asthma
- whether something in your diet or lifestyle may be contributing to your symptoms
Typically, to be diagnosed with atopic eczema you should have had an itchy skin condition in the last 12 months and 3 or more of the following:
- visibly irritated red skin in the creases of your skin such as the insides of your elbows or behind your knees at the time of examination by a health professional
- a history of skin irritation occurring in the same areas mentioned above
- generally dry skin in the last 12 months
- a history of asthma or hay fever children under 4 must have an immediate relative, such as a parent, brother or sister, who has 1 of these conditions
- the condition started before the age of 2
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What Can Make It Worse
Each baby is different. But there are some common eczema triggers to avoid, including:
Dry skin. It can make a baby’s skin itchier. Low humidity, especially during winter when homes are well-heated and the air is dry, is a cause.
Irritants. Think scratchy wool clothes, polyester, perfumes, body soaps, and laundry soaps. These can all trigger symptoms.
Stress. Children with eczema may react to stress by flushing. That can lead to itchy, irritated skin. And that, in turn, ramps up their eczema symptoms.
Heat and sweat. Both can make the itch of infant eczema worse.
Allergens. Itâs not certain, but some experts believe that removing cowâs milk, peanuts, eggs, or certain fruits from a childâs food may help control eczema symptoms. Remember that your baby can get exposed to these foods if their mother eats them before they breastfeed. Find out the connection between food and eczema flares.
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How Can I Prevent Baby Eczema
Since several factors can cause eczema in your baby, theres no way to completely prevent the condition. You can help your baby reduce their risk of developing a flare-up of symptoms by:
- Avoiding triggers, irritants and allergens.
- Using moisturizer on your babys skin daily.
- Giving your baby baths with warm, not hot, water that is between five to 10 minutes long.
- Choosing moisturizers or ointments without fragrance, designed for babies.
What Are Eczema Symptoms Like
Eczema looks and feels different for everyone, so theres no universal way to describe its symptoms. Technically, there are multiple different categories of eczema, each of which can occur at different ages, on different areas of the body, and can range in severity from mild to moderate to severe.
Some of the most common descriptors patients use to describe eczema include:
- Inflamed, discolored skin
- Rough, leathery, or scaly patches of skin
- Oozing and crusty skin and
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Treating Eczema In Babies And Toddlers
Eczema is not contagious. You cant catch it from someone else.
For most types of eczema, including atopic eczema, managing flares comes down to these basics:
- Know your childs particular triggers to avoid exposure
- Implement a daily bathing and moisturizing routine to protect skin and lock in moisture
- Useover-the-counter and prescription medication consistently and as prescribed to curb symptoms
There is no cure for eczema but there are treatments and more are coming. These include OTC remedies, prescription topical medications, phototherapy, and immunosuppressants.
Eczema, especially atopic dermatitis , may look and act very differently as your child gets older. Its important to understand which type of eczema they may have and their symptoms and triggers so that you can better treat and manage it as they grow and change. The only way to be sure what type of eczema your child has is to make an appointment with your doctor.
Symptoms Of Atopic Eczema
Atopic eczema causes the skin to become itchy, dry, cracked and sore.
Some people only have small patches of dry skin, but others may experience widespread inflamed skin all over the body.
Inflamed skin can become red on lighter skin, and darker brown, purple or grey on darker skin. This can also be more difficult to see on darker skin.
Although atopic eczema can affect any part of the body, it most often affects the hands, insides of the elbows, backs of the knees and the face and scalp in children.
People with atopic eczema usually have periods when symptoms are less noticeable, as well as periods when symptoms become more severe .
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Baby Eczema And Cradle Cap Symptoms
- 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.
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How Is Atopic Dermatitis Treated In A Child
Treatment will depend on your childs symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is. There is no cure for atopic dermatitis. The goals of treatment are to ease itching and inflammation, add moisture, and prevent infection.
Treatment of atopic dermatitis includes:
Staying away from irritants, as advised by your childs healthcare provider
Bathing with a gentle cleaner or body wash advised by the healthcare provider
Keeping your childs fingernails short, to help prevent scratching that can cause skin irritation and infection
Using moisturizing lotion advised by the healthcare provider
Your childs healthcare provider may also prescribe medicines. They may be used alone or together. The following are most commonly used to treat atopic dermatitis:
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Eating A Healthy Diet While Pregnant And Breastfeeding Recommended
No particular diet or food has been found to prevent AD. That said, recent findings suggest that mothers-to-be should play close attention to what they eat and drink.
Pregnancy and diet
Mothers-to-be who eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, fish, and vitamin D may reduce their childs risk of developing eczema.
After looking at findings from 42 studies, researchers discovered that children had a lower risk of developing AD when their mothers ate a healthy diet while pregnant.
In these studies, a healthy diet was one rich in:
Fruits and vegetables
Taking a probiotic during pregnancy may also slightly lower the risk of a child developing AD.
Diet, pregnancy and AD risk: Bottom line
Eating a healthy diet while pregnant has many benefits. Research shows that following the diet described above may lower your childs risk of developing AD. Before you try this diet, ask your obstetrician if its right for you. Your allergies or other health conditions could rule out this diet.
Emollients And Fire Safety
Lotions, creams or ointments used to moisturise your childs skin are also known as emollients.
Emollients are very effective at treating chronic dry skin conditions, such as eczema.
But it is important to be aware of the fire risk linked with them.
Emollients won’t cause a fire on their own. But if there is a build-up of emollient residue on clothing and bedding, this can quicken the speed of a fire.
Do not smoke near your baby or allow them near naked flames:
- while they are wearing emollient
- if they are wearing clothes or bandages that may have emollient on them
There is a fire risk with all paraffin-containing emollients. There may also even be a fire risk with paraffin-free emollients. There might also be a fire risk with other products that you put on skin over large body areas for more than a few days.
Washing clothing or fabric at a high temperature may reduce emollient build-up. But it might not totally remove it.
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How Is Atopic Dermatitis Diagnosed In A Child
The healthcare provider will ask about your childs symptoms and health history. He or she may also ask if you or other family members have atopic dermatitis, asthma, or nasal allergies such as hay fever or allergic rhinitis. He or she will also ask about allergy symptoms in your child. The healthcare provider will examine your child, looking for signs of atopic dermatitis. There is no specific test for atopic dermatitis. Testing is usually not needed, but it may be done. Tests may include:
Blood tests. Your childs blood may be checked for levels of immunoglobulin E . IgE is released by the body’s immune system. Its high in most children with allergies and with atopic dermatitis. Other blood tests may also be done.
Skin tests. Skin tests may be done to check for allergies or other skin conditions.
What Causes Eczema Flare
The main causes of child eczema flare-ups include:
- Too much bathing
Even though there are many factors that can lead to an eczema flare-up, treatment is simple and effective, regardless of what caused the reaction in the first place. Before we discuss the seven ways to treat and prevent child eczema flare-ups, lets find out a bit more about the condition itself.
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