• Eczema is a chronic disease that causes the skin to become very itchy, red and even swollen.
  • Atopic (allergic) dermatitis (eczema) is a common form of eczema.
  • Allergic eczema affects about 10% of children.
  • In young children, eczema usually appears on the face, chest, back and the outside of the wrists and ankles.
  • In older children, eczema often appears on the hands, neck, behind the knees and on the inside of the elbows.
  • Eczema usually starts before age 2 and often gets better by age 5.
  • Eczema can run in families. If one parent has eczema or another allergic disease (asthma, hay fever or food allergy), the child has a greater chance of having eczema and other allergic diseases. The chances are even greater if both parents have eczema or allergies.
  • You cannot catch eczema from someone else.
  • Children have a 40% chance of outgrowing eczema by the time they become adults.


Certain things can trigger eczema to get worse.

Things that may make eczema worse are (Triggers are different for each child):

  • Dry Skin
  • Viral infections and fever
  • Irritants such as soaps & fabric softeners
  • Some fabrics such as wool or synthetic fabrics
  • Stress
  • Heat or sweating
  • Dust or Mold
  • Skin infections
  • Certain foods
  • Cold dry air in winter increases dry, itchy skin.

Some allergies such as food, pets or dust mites can worsen eczema.  An allergist can help identify possible allergic triggers. Dry skin is itchy and will cause the child to scratch. Scratching will make eczema worse.

Learn what things trigger your child’s eczema and avoid them.


The goal in managing eczema is to keep skin moist:

  • Use moisturizers every day.
  • Give short baths in luke warm water every day.
  • Use as little soap as possible or mild unscented soaps when needed at the end of the bath 
  • Gently pat the skin.
  • Use an unscented moisturizer immediately after a bath (and several times a day if needed).
  • Medicated creams are sometimes needed. Follow your doctor’s instructions on how to apply them.
  • Keep your child’s fingernails short.
  • Dress your child in cotton clothing.  Wash the clothes in mild unscented  detergent and double rinse with clean water. Do not use fabric softeners in the dryer.
  • Keep your home cool especially the bedroom


Your Doctor may recommend:

Wet Wrap Therapy 

  • Used to moisten and provide protection to skin.
  • Improves the skin’s ability to absorb medicated creams to improve healing.

Bleach Baths

  • Decrease bacteria on the skin that lead to skin infections.        
  • Note: These treatments are not effective for everyone. Talk with your doctor before trying these treatments.

For more information contact:

The Eczema Society of Canada