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Eczema and Your Child

Posted January 3, 2018

Eczema is a common skin condition in children. Here are some tips to help you understand and treat it. 

What is Eczema?

Eczema is a non-contagious, inflammatory skin condition characterized by itching, redness, and scaly rashes that often appear on the arms, legs, hands, and face. It can be caused by a number of different irritants and allergens, such as (but not limited to) certain foods, cosmetics, soaps, fabrics, and pet dander. 
While there are different types of eczema, the most common type that affects children is known as atopic dermatitis. It’s extremely common, affecting roughly 1 out of every 10 children, and it will often present itself before the age of 5. Most children will grow out of the condition by adolescents. 

Is Eczema Dangerous?

Moderate to severe eczema can be itchy and uncomfortable for you child, but it is not a life threatening condition. 
Outside of discomfort, the biggest concern from eczema is the possibility of a skin infection. Children may scratch the infected area, allowing for bacteria to get into the skin and cause the infection. If this happens, you’ll need to see your pediatrician. 

How Do I Treat Eczema?

While there is no cure for eczema, there are a handful of ways you can prevent and treat flare ups in your child.

For prevention, the key is to keep your child’s skin from becoming too dry. Avoid hot baths, scented soaps, excessive scrubbing, or dressing your child in harsh or irritating clothing (such as wool). 

If your child experiences a flare up, keep the skin—and especially the affected area—clean and moisturized. You can also use topical corticosteroids, antihistamines (to control itching and scratching), and even antibiotics if necessary. Additionally, for children with moderate to servere eczema, you can employ the “wet wrap” therapy. This is a fairly simple procedure that involves wrapping the affected area with a wet cotton dressing or gauze. For more information wet wrap therapy, follow this link.