Caring for Eczema in Babies and Small Children

There are several types of eczema, include atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, dyshidrotic eczema as well as the type that most commonly affects babies: seborrheic dermatitis, or cradle cap. It will appear between 6 months and five years of age. It is not contagious and often runs in the family. When you see that your child is showing signs of eczema, ask your doctor about it immediately.

It is important to remember that eczema is a blanket term for some conditions that cause dry, itchy and inflamed skin. Dermatitis is another word for eczema and is the most common type. Atopic dermatitis is considered a chronic disease and is the result of an overactive immune system, with reactions both inside and outside of the body. It affects over one-tenth of the children in the United States

There is no right cause of eczema, but there is evidence that it comes from a combination of genes as well as environmental triggers. It is an incorrect reaction to triggers outside of the body. Eczema in babies and smaller children is different than that in older children. Location and appearance of eczema will change as the child grows (if they do not grow out of it), so keep up with these changes so you can help manage your child’s eczema.

Eczema in babies and children has triggers, such as soaps, fragrances or fabrics. As a parent, ensure that you understand your child’s triggers to avoid exposure to these skin stressors. There should be a daily moisturizing routine as well as a bath schedule to keep skin clean and moisturized. There are also medications available as there is no cure for eczema, only management. Find a reliable, soothing lotion that is free of dyes and fragrances.

Common eczema triggers include dry skin, irritants such as soaps or harsh fragrance, infection, heating, and sweating as well as other allergens such as pollen or pet dander. In particular, eczema can be worse during the winter when the air is dry. For infants and small children, drooling can irritate your baby’s cheeks, chin, and neck.

If your child has an eczema flare-up that concerns you, see a pediatric after-hours clinic immediately and ask a medical professional for help and advice. Whether your child has a skin condition, anxiety or a sudden severe allergic reaction, make sure that you take action immediately and know where you can turn for help.

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