Six Ways to Help Your Child with Eczema
Children and babies are known for having skin that is soft and smooth to the touch, so when rashes and acne begin to appear it can be alarming for parents and childcare professionals. One of the most common childhood skin conditions is eczema, a skin rash that affects 1 in 5 children and has no real known cause.
Typically, eczema is linked to being a genetic condition that is more prone in children with family members who have seasonal allergies, asthma or eczema themselves. Dark, rough patches of skin or areas of red irritation accompanied by extreme itching are signs of eczema, and if these physical signs are present on your child’s skin, a dermatologist should be consulted to seek out proper diagnosis and treatment options.
There is no cure for eczema and there isn’t a perfect treatment for the condition, but with proper care your child’s eczema can be kept under control. Check out these tips on how to care for child eczema.
1. Bathe and Moisturize
For babies with eczema, having good bathing practices can be very important. Bathe your child daily (or as often as your doctor recommends) in lukewarm water, using a mild soap or non-soap cleanser.
Afterward, gently pat off the excess water and apply moisturizer liberally while the skin is damp. Ointments and creams are best to use for children’s eczema, but during the warmer months you may want to swap out for a lighter cream that will be more comfortable for the child.
2. Choose Skin-Friendly Fabrics
One of the things to avoid with children who have eczema is rough fabrics. You’ll want to use very smooth, cotton clothing and blankets to bring comfort to the skin. Also, make sure to use a fragrance-free, mild soap detergent when washing your child’s clothes and never use fabric softener (it can further irritate the eczema).
3. Discourage Scratching
To keep your child from scratching the patches of skin and breaking the skin open, keep your child’s nails short and trimmed. Help prevent night scratching by placing mittens or cotton socks on your child’s hands.
4. Avoid Triggers
There are certain allergens within a child’s environment that can cause flare-ups. Some soaps, lotions, fabrics and foods can all be triggers to cause eczema to rear its ugly head. Fragrances, cigarette smoke and stress can also serve as triggers. Talk to your child’s doctor about identifying and avoiding the things that may aggravate your child’s eczema.
5. Treat Flare-Ups
If your child has a flare-up, he/she may need medication to feel better. Talk to your doctor about the options available for treatment. Topical steroids may be used to help bring down the outbreak, and doses are dependent upon the age of the child and the severity of the outbreak.
6. Bleach Bath Therapy
Some children with eczema may benefit from soaking in a diluted bleach bath. Bleach baths decrease bacteria on the skin. Measure 1/2 cup of bleach for a full bathtub of water and use a 1/4 cup of bleach for a half full tub. If bathing a baby or toddler, add one teaspoon of bleach per gallon of water. Have your child soak five to 10 minutes, then rinse with plain water. Pat the skin dry and apply any medication. Important Note: Consult your child’s doctor before beginning bleach bath therapy.