Why Eczema Occurs And How To Manage It
Eczema is a skin condition whereby a body rash occurs. Patches of skin can become inflamed, red, raw and even blistered. Quite often the rash comes with an itch and the scratching is often the most worrying element for a parent as it tends to aggravate and worsen their child’s rash.
Eczema can affect up to one in ten children which makes it extremely common. Children usually show signs of it from just a couple of months old and it tends to taper off by the time they are of school going age. In the majority of cases, most eczema sufferers will be free from it by their teenage years but there are always exceptions and many adults battle with the skin condition too.
If your child is presenting symptoms that point in the direction of eczema your doctor may also inquire about allergies, hay fever and asthma as quite often they can go hand in hand with the condition. It may also be possible that other members of the family have a history of eczema as a child or adult. Symptoms usually begin with small raised patches of dry skin. These patches are often circular and can appear anywhere on the body. Quite often they present behind the knees and on the ankles.
Eczema is not contagious in any way. It is often fuelled by a reaction to environmental issues such as pollen, dust, heat or certain detergents and cosmetics. In many cases, it can be difficult to diagnose officially because there are a number of skin conditions which can affect babies of the same age. Your doctor will consider other conditions such as psoriasis, cradle cap and dermatitis to rule those out first. The doctor may also ask about your child’s stress levels and emotional health as stress is often a trigger for a bad eczema flare up.
In terms of treatment, your doctor may first begin with environmental changes. They may suggest changing detergents or altering elements of their diet. In some cases, dairy can be a trigger for eczema for example. The doctor will also recommend that you use fragrance-free and unperfumed lotions and body wash when you are bathing your child. This can prevent the skin from being irritated further.
In other cases, the doctor may suggest a topical treatment such as a steroid cream but you should never use a steroid cream that has been given to you by a friend or family member as they can vary in strength and recommended use. They may also suggest an antihistamine for a certain period of time or when a bad flare-up occurs. Each eczema case is very unique and your doctor will be able to recommend the right course of action for you or your child.
There are some lifestyle changes which may help you and your child manage the symptoms of eczema. Dietary changes may be suggested as well as changing your bath time schedule. Bathing can cause the skin to become dry and this can worsen the rash and make the skin itch even more. Keeping your child’s fingernails short and clean is also a good idea as it can lessen the impact of the scratching which may be unavoidable particularly at night time while they sleep.
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