Everything You Need to Know About Eczema in a Child

Atopic dermatitis, also known as eczema, is a chronic inflammatory skin condition that affects millions of children worldwide. Though the exact cause of eczema is unknown, it is believed to be due to genetic and environmental factors. Eczema commonly begins in childhood and often improves with age, though some people may continue to experience symptoms into adulthood.

It’s estimated that 15 million people in the United States have this condition.  So if your child has eczema, you’re not alone. Here’s what you need to know about eczema in children.

What are the symptoms of eczema in children?

The most common symptom of eczema is dry, itchy skin. The itchiness can be mild or severe, and it may worsen when the child is upset or stressed. The itching can also interfere with sleep.

Other symptoms of eczema include:

-Rashes: Eczema causes a red, raised rash that is often weepy or crusted over. The rash typically appears on the face, chest, hands, feet, elbows, or behind the knees. It may also affect other areas of the body.

-Skin sensitivity: Children with eczema may be more sensitive to irritants, such as soaps, detergents, and fragrances. They may also react to certain foods.

-Crusting and flaking: The skin may develop small bumps that leak fluid and crust over when they heal.

-Discoloration: The skin may become darker or lighter in color.

What causes eczema in children?

The exact cause of eczema is unknown, but it’s thought to be related to an overactive immune system. In children with eczema, the skin barrier doesn’t work as well. This allows moisture to escape and irritants and allergens to enter.

Eczema is often hereditary, so if you or your partner has eczema, there’s a good chance your child will also have it. Eczema may also be linked to other conditions, such as asthma and hay fever.

What are the treatment options for eczema?

There are different ways to manage the symptoms. The goal of treatment is to heal the skin, relieve itching and discomfort, and prevent flares. While using an eczema cream is one of the best ways to heal the symptoms, there are some other treatment options that you can check. 

Treatment options include:

-Topical corticosteroids: These cortisone creams can be bought over the counter or by prescription. They help to reduce inflammation and itching.

-Topical calcineurin inhibitors: These are prescription creams that work by suppressing the immune system.

-Antihistamines: These can be used to relieve itching and help your child sleep through the night.

-Phototherapy: This involves using ultraviolet light to help heal the skin. It’s typically done in a doctor’s office or hospital.

-Oral corticosteroids: These are steroids that are taken by mouth. They’re usually only used for short periods to control severe flare-ups.

How can I prevent eczema flares?

There are several things you can do to prevent eczema flares:

-Identify and avoid triggers: Common triggers include fragrances, soaps, detergents, dust, pollen, and certain foods.

-Keep the skin moist: Apply a moisturizer to the skin every day. This will help to reduce itching and prevent the skin from drying out.

-Use mild cleansers: Avoid harsh soaps and detergents that can dry out the skin. Opt for gentle, unscented products instead.

-Avoid scratching: It’s important to resist the urge to scratch the itch. Scratching can damage the skin and make eczema worse.

Final takeaway: 

If you think your child may have eczema, it is important to see a doctor for an accurate diagnosis and to discuss the best treatment options. With proper management, most children with eczema can lead happy, healthy lives.

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