Preventing Eczema Flare-ups in Children
Eczema is a tough problem to deal with. Generally, it does not have any cure. The only thing that you can do about it is to manage the problem and help control its flare-ups. With children, this can be a tougher condition to manage because of the lack of medicines available especially to children below two years old. And unlike adults, children cannot be relied on to help control scratching, which may exacerbate the problem even more. Infections on the skin can make the problem harder to treat. Also, it is often wrongly diagnosed as harmless diaper rash and heat rash.
Eczema starts out as an itchy red rash. In time, it will become dry, scaly and will have lesions. The rashes are often found on the face, the arms and the legs, most especially in the creases of the elbows, knees and ankles. Usually, eczema is caused by an allergen or an irritant, often a chemical that your baby has come into contact with in his surrounding. The culprit for most cases are laundry detergents, bath soaps and other chemicals that the sensitive skin of your infant cannot take. Most babies with eczema have parents who are extremely allergic too. It is also not uncommon for asthmatic children to have flare-ups of eczema.
Although medicines are being given to children for the treatment of the problem, it is not always recommended. Usually, they are given topical steroids or immunomodulators. This is because medicines can have side effects especially for infants and those below two years old. Prolonged use, even in older children, can cause the thinning of the skin and stretch marks to appear.
Prevention is still the best way to manage the problem. Flare-ups can be controlled if eczema is caused by a known allergen or irritant. Simply take out the allergen or irritant and the episode of itchiness will be gone. Among the common triggers for eczema flare-ups besides soaps are dust mites, food allergies, and some types of fabrics.
Besides identifying the source of the rashes, parents can also help control the problem by keeping the skin of the baby well-moisturized. This helps prevent the dryness of the skin and eventually scaling and lesions. Be careful though when doing this because as mentioned before, some products that have chemical on them can actually cause the flare-ups. If you want to be sure, check with your doctor and ask for advice on what products in the market that you can use for your kid.
Usually, the greasy type of moisturizers work best with preventing flare-ups. An example of these ointments are Vasline and Aquaphor creams. Do not use lotion or oils as they may only worsen the itchiness.
Flare-ups may also be harder to control when the air is very dry during summer and during cold weather. Winter season is particularly “conducive” to eczema flare-ups. Be ready for this and make sure that the skin is well-moisturized. It will be good to keep a cream with you all the time so you can treat the eczema flare-up at its first sign.
Getting to Know Eczema
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