Around 10 percent of all children under the age of five have eczema, and around 90 percent of all the cases of eczema start in children under five. Doctors have no idea what the cause of eczema is. What they do know is that eczema has a genetic component and usually runs in children belonging to families with a history of allergies. Some babies will outgrow the said skin condition when they become toddlers. Others will outgrow it later during their teenage years.
For the unfortunate few, their skin condition will continue into adulthood and they will have to live with it for the rest of their lives. Since, as mentioned before, the causes of eczema have not yet been identified, the cure has not been found. Treatments for eczema merely deal with reducing its symptoms and not on totally eradicating it. Thus, parents of children afflicted with eczema need to understand that they have to be diligent and religious in maintaining a daily regimen that is aimed at alleviating their children’s condition.
A child will mostly likely scratch the itchy areas of his/her skin. This will only initiate the itch-scratch cycle wherein the skin would start to itch, the child scratches it, the skin becomes even itchier, and the cycle starts all over again. Since children usually have a hard time resisting the urge to scratch, most eczema treatments for them are focused on reducing the itch.
The treatment of eczema in children is usually a combination of anti-inflammatory and moisturizing medications. When a child has a flare-up, he/she should be bathed twice daily in lukewarm water, around 85 degrees. Hot water should not be used since this would only cause his/her skin to release more histamine that would then make it red and itchy. If the child finds that the water causes his/her rashes to sting and burn, add half a cup of table salt to a tub of water. Do not use soap-based cleansers as these would only irritate his/her skin and cause it to lose moisture.
After the short bath, gently dry the child’s skin with a soft towel. Do not rub it as rubbing would simply aggravate the problem. Make sure to leave the skin slightly moist. Apply the moisturizer to his/her skin within three minutes. Petroleum jelly would work best on severe rashes. For moderate cases, thick creams would be sufficient. For skin having no visible rash, a simple moisturizing liquid can be used instead.
Anti-inflammatory medication should only be applied to affected areas that are in flare-up. Follow your doctor’s advice on when and how much medication to apply. When your child’s skin starts to break because of his/her incessant scratching, make sure to put antibiotic ointment on it in order to prevent infection from occurring. If it does occur, consult your doctor and he/she may prescribe oral antibiotics.
The key to fighting eczema is through good skin care. You can help your outgrow it if you follow your doctor’s advice to the last letter.