Eczema is a skin disease characterized by patches of dry or red, scaly, itchy skin. Scratching the skin damages its surface and can worsen the rash.
Childhood eczema is called atopic dermatitis. It is common in infants and children. Eczema tends to wax and wane without warning. A treatment plan that including skin care can reduce flare-ups and ease the discomfort of eczema.
What Causes Eczema?
Eczema is not contagious. A child is more likely to get eczema if a parent or another family member has eczema, asthma, or hay fever. Genes may play a role in causing eczema. Living in an urban area and / or living in a cold or dry climate are other factors that seen to contribute to a child developing eczema.
How Can I Tell If My Child Has Eczema?
Dry, scaly or itchy red patchesin the creases of the elbows or knees, neck, wrists, ankles, and the crease between the buttocks and legson your child’s skin. Patches of eczema look inflamed, can crack, leak clear fluid, and crust. Infections can develop if germs enter the body through broken skin. Repeatedly scratching the itchy patches can cause the skin to look dark and feel leathery. Sweatingcan lead to flare-ups in some people.
If you suspect that your child has eczema, you should see a dermatologist.
How Is Eczema Diagnosed?
A dermatologist can often diagnose eczema by looking at the child’s skin. Your dermatologist will inform you, if allergy testing is required.
How Long Will My Child Have Ecezema?
Eczema goes away with time in many children. About half the children who get eczema, however, will have eczema as an adult. There is no way to predict whether the eczema will go away or become a long-term disease. Early treatment can prevent the eczema from worsening. Severe eczema can become more difficult to treat.
How Is Eczema Treated?
A dermatologist will create a specific treatment plan tailored to the individual patient’s needs. Most treatment plans consist of:
- Skin care
- Medical therapies
- Tips to avoid flare-ups
What Treatments Are Used To Treat Eczema/Atopic Dermatitis?
Treatments you can try at home or purchase over-the-counter include:
Moisturizer Or Emollient
Moisturizers applied after bathing help to decreases dryness and scaling. Harsh soaps (so called antiseptic soaps) should be avoided. Your dermatologist can recommend which products to use or avoid.
Topical steroids applied to the skin, help to calm the skin and relieve itching. There can be side effects from using too much medicine or using it too often, it is best to by dermatologist recommendation.
Constant itching in eczema patients can cause many sleepless nights. Sedating antihistamines for itching can help patients get the sleep they need.
Wet wrap therapy consists of soaking and sealing the itchy skin with warm, damp clothing. This helps the skin absorb medication and keep the skin hydrated.
Dilute Bleach Bath
Eczematous skin can develop a bacterial infection which can worsen itching, redness and cause pain. Diluted bleach bath soaks help to disinfect the surface of the skin and reduce the bacteria on the skin, thereby recurrent bacterial infection.
To reduce inflammation and other symptoms.
In case of secondary bacterial infection
This is UVB light therapy and may be added to the treatment plan.
Systemic Immunomodulatory Agents
Like cyclosporine, azathioprine, methotrexate and systemic steroids. Theses medicines require monitoring for side effects.
Why See A Dermatologist?
When a child has eczema, it can be difficult for parents to know what will help ease a child’s discomfort. There is so much conflicting information available on the internet. MD Dermatologists specialize in treating pediatric skin conditions and can help you tailor a treatment plan for your child’s eczema/ atopic dermatitis. A dermatologist will also provide you with tips to reduce the severity and frequency of your child’s flare-ups. These include bathing tips, selecting a moisturizer, and skin care regimen.