Eczema: How to Help Your Child Avoid the Itch
Eczema is a chronic skin problem that causes dry, red, itchy skin. It is also called atopic dermatitis or AD.
Who Gets Eczema?
Eczema is the most common skin problem treated by paediatric dermatologists. About 65% of patients develop symptoms before age 1, and about 90% of them develop symptoms before age 5.
Many babies outgrow eczema by age 4. Some children outgrow eczema by the time they are young adults, although their skin remains dry and sensitive. A few may have it all their lives, but there are ways to relieve the symptoms.
Eczema often runs in families with a history of eczema or other allergic conditions such as hay fever and asthma. It is not contagious.
The symptoms of eczema are different with each child. Common symptoms include dry, red, itchy skin and rashes. These rashes can be oozing or very dry.
Eczema can appear anywhere on the body or in just a few areas.
- In babies, a rash often appears on the face and scalp.
- In teens and young adults, a rash often appears on the hands and feet.
Because eczema is a chronic skin problem, these symptoms can come and go. There are times when the symptoms are worse followed by times when the skin gets better or clears up completely.
How to Prevent Flare-Ups
One of the most helpful things you can do is to prevent flare-ups before they happen.
- Keep your child’s skin moisturized. Moisturizing should be a part of your child’s daily treatment plan. Use fragrance-free moisturizers.
- Control allergens. See our tips on allergy proof your house
- Avoid irritants. Avoid scratchy fabrics such as wool. Avoid chemicals in soaps and detergents.
- Remind your child not to scratch. Scratching can make the rash worse and lead to infection Keep your child’s fingernails short and smooth, and try to distract your child from scratching.
Eczema is a chronic skin problem, so it can come and go. It requires ongoing management by you, your child, and your child’s doctor. If your child’s eczema is not improving, talk with your child’s doctor about your concerns.