Identifying And Managing Eczema In Babies
Eczema causes dry, bumpy and irritated skin and is commonly observed in children between the ages of 1-5.
In general terms, eczema refers to the condition of having dry, irritated, and itchy skin. It is a long-lasting skin disorder that is often inherited and primarily affects infants and young children, usually starting within the first year of life and commonly observed before the age of 5. It is important to emphasise that eczema is not a contagious condition.
Although many children eventually outgrow eczema, there are cases where it persists into adolescence or adulthood. As per the American Academy of Dermatology, eczema affects approximately 10 to 20 percent of children globally, with infants being impacted in up to 20 percent of instances.
Cause of Eczema in babies
Eczema in infants and children is caused by a combination of genetic predisposition and environmental factors. Various elements, ranging from the climate to potential allergens, can trigger eczema flare-ups. It is frequently observed that eczema tends to occur in families with a predisposition to other atopic conditions, including food allergies, asthma, and hay fever. Individuals with atopic dermatitis may have deficiencies in certain skin proteins, leading to heightened sensitivity. Children are more likely to develop eczema if their parents also have the condition, although the precise method of inheritance is still unknown.
Symptoms of Eczema in babies
The appearance of eczema can vary depending on the specific type affecting a toddler. Additionally, if eczema persists, the toddler's skin can undergo changes over time. Common signs of eczema in toddlers include:
- Dry and itchy skin
- Flushed skin that worsens with scratching
- Presence of small blisters
- Areas of weeping or oozing skin caused by rubbing or scratching
- Discoloration of the skin
- Rough and scaly skin
- Due to the intense itchiness and discomfort caused by eczema, toddlers may exhibit increased irritability compared to their usual behaviour. Moreover, eczema can disrupt sleep, leading to potential impacts on a toddler's overall mood and behaviour throughout the day
It's worth noting that the appearance of eczema may also vary based on a child's skin.
Eczema does not currently have a definitive cure available. However, there are various treatments that can effectively alleviate its symptoms. The doctor will assess the severity of the symptoms, the age of the child, and the location of the rash to determine the most suitable treatment options. These treatments can be categorised as either "topical," meaning they are applied directly to the skin, or "oral," indicating they are taken by mouth.
Topical moisturisers play a crucial role in managing eczema. It is recommended to moisturise the skin frequently, ideally two or three times a day. The optimal time to apply moisturiser is after taking a bath or shower, gently patting the skin dry beforehand. Ointments, such as petroleum jelly, and creams are highly effective as they contain a high oil content. Lotions, on the other hand, tend to have a higher water content and are less beneficial for eczema management.
Another treatment option is topical corticosteroids, also known as cortisone or steroid creams/ointments. These medications effectively alleviate skin inflammation associated with eczema. It is important to note that these topical steroids should never be used if they were prescribed for someone else. The strength of these creams and ointments can vary, and using an incorrect strength on sensitive areas can potentially harm the skin, especially in infants.
In some cases, oral medication may be prescribed. This can include antihistamines, which are used to alleviate allergies and help children with eczema experience better sleep at night. Antibiotics may also be prescribed if a rash becomes infected by bacteria. Additionally, corticosteroid pills or other immune-suppressing medications may be recommended to manage severe cases of eczema.
Managing Eczema in babies
- Moisturising your baby's skin is crucial for managing eczema
- Opt for soft, breathable fabrics such as cotton to dress your baby
- Bathe your baby in lukewarm water for a short duration, as long baths can dry out the skin
- Identify and avoid any triggers that worsen your baby's eczema symptoms
- Trim your baby's nails regularly to prevent them from scratching their skin and causing further damage
If your baby's eczema does not improve with home care or becomes more severe, consult a paediatrician or dermatologist.
Children with eczema have a higher susceptibility to skin infections. This is because eczema creates an environment that makes it easier for bacteria, viruses, and other germs to enter the body. Early treatment is crucial when it comes to addressing your child's eczema. By taking action as soon as you notice the condition, you can prevent it from worsening and becoming more challenging to manage.Disclaimer: The above content is for informational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for the advice of a qualified physician or doctor. The Company does not vouch for or endorse any of the above content, and disclaims any and all warranties, express or implied, relating to the same.