Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, refers to a group of conditions that cause the skin to turn red and become itchy and inflamed. There are different types, such as seborrheic dermatitis and contact dermatitis. Atopic dermatitis typically occurs between the first six months up to 5 years of age. It’s not contagious as you can’t contract it from someone else.
There is no cure for this disease, but treatments are available. Some of them are over-the-counter remedies, phototherapy, immunosuppressants, and topical prescription medications. Atopic dermatitis can look and act differently as children grow older.
The exact cause of this disease is not known. However, researchers know children who develop eczema usually as a result of environmental triggers and genetics. When something outside the child’s body triggers the immune system, the skin cells don’t act the way they are supposed to, resulting in flare-ups.
Children with eczema have sensitive skin that can be irritated easily by heat, some detergents, cleansers, soap, and sweating. In addition, kids with atopic dermatitis are often allergic to some foods, animals, grasses, tree pollens, and pets.
Effects of eczema on children
Children with atopic dermatitis develop dry, itchy, red patches on their skin due to inflammation. The itching may be constant or severe. When children scratch themselves frequently, their skin may have blisters, sores, crusting, and oozing due to infection. In other cases, if the child scratches for several weeks or months, their skin will start becoming leathery, dark in color, and rough.
Among infants, atopic dermatitis mainly affects the arms, legs, scalp, and face. Among older children, it may attack only the insides of elbows and the backs of the knees.
Treatment of eczema in children
Eczema has no cure. However, you can keep it under control by adopting good skincare. Follow up with the doctor frequently, so they see if the medicine they prescribed for your child is working. The doctor may need to alter treatment depending on the season or as the child is growing. Some of the ways of treating atopic dermatitis are;
For some children, it will prove helpful if bathing is limited to at least three times a week. Bathing frequently may result in the skin drying out and make the itching worse. As for children who have environmental allergies, like animal danger and pollens, it will be helpful if they bathe often or immediately after coming in contact with them.
- Use a gentle non-soap cleanser
- Limit shower time to 5 or 10 minutes
- While drying the skin, just pat it, avoid rubbing
- Apply topical medicines as per the doctor’s instructions
The doctor may give you prescriptions of topical medicines such as ointments, creams, or topical steroids to treat this disease. Ensure you apply small amounts to the affected areas at least twice per day to keep the condition under control. Remember to always use the topical medication before applying the moisturizer.
As for the flare-ups, there might be the need to use a stronger topical steroid for a limited time.
After applying topical medicines, always wait for 30 minutes and then apply a thick layer of moisturizer. Avoid using moisturizers that are packed in pumped bottles since they are usually lotions. Some appropriate moisturizers are Vani cream, Aquaphor ointment, Aveeno cream, and Vaseline, among others.
Keep your child away from environmental triggers like cat or dog dander, tree pollens, and dust mites, as they will only worsen the child’s condition.
Despite eczema not having a cure, you can control the condition in various ways. Always check in with a doctor once in a while for consultation regarding your child’s progress. This will help keep your child healthy and positive while battling the condition.