WHAT IS ECZEMA?
- 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.
WHAT TRIGGERS ECZEMA?
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
- Heat or sweating
- Dust or Mold
- Skin infections
- Certain foods
- Cold dry air in winter increases dry, itchy skin.
- Dry skin is itchy and will cause the child to scratch. Scratching will make eczema worse.
- Some allergies such as food, pets or dust mites can worsen eczema. An allergist can help identify possible allergic triggers.
- Learn what things trigger your child’s eczema and avoid them.
TREATMENT AND CONTROL OF ECZEMA
- 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
OTHER ECZEMA TREATMENTS
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.
- 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