Also known by the term ‘atopic dermatitis’, eczema is more prevalent in infants and children. This article discusses the possible causes of eczema in children.
Eczema is one of the most bothersome and chronic disorders of the skin. Atopic eczema is the type commonly observed in children, while contact eczema is more prevalent in adults. The arms, and the region behind the knees, are the commonly affected sites. However, any part of the body may be affected.
The classic symptoms include the appearance of red-brown bumps or patches on the affected area. This may be accompanied with itching, which gets severe at night. When these bumps or patches are scratched, they may leak and crust over. Other symptoms which indicate the onset of eczema include cracked skin, that may become thick and have a scaly appearance. These symptoms occur both in children and adults. Symptoms specific to children include crusting or oozing rash on the face and scalp.
Eczema is an idiopathic condition, and has no identified cause. However, experts believe that some malfunction in the immune system when accompanied with dry, irritated skin, could be a contributing factor in the onset of this condition in children and adults.
Although experts are not sure about the exact causes of eczema, they have been able to determine triggers that can worsen the symptoms of this condition. These may include:
- Stress (in adults)
- Exposure to changing temperature
- Low humidity levels
- Use of soaps, detergents, etc.
- Certain foods
- Certain man-made fabrics
Eczema treatment in children or in adults for that matter, attempts to reduce the inflammation and itching, as well as prevent future flare-ups. For mild cases, over-the-counter (nonprescription) anti-itch creams coupled with some simple self-care measures are recommended. However, some cases of eczema do not do well with just the OTC medications, and require certain prescription drugs.
Apart from medication, some patients may be recommended to expose their skin to controlled amounts of natural sunlight. This process is known as light therapy. In case of infants, parents are advised to keep their babies away from skin irritants, and extreme temperatures. Using baby bath oils, lotions or creams helps to keep the skin hydrated, thus avoiding dry skin. If these measures do not provide relief, babies may be given oral antihistamines by the doctor. They help in reducing the itching, and encourages drowsiness which helps at bedtime.
Apart from the above treatment options, parents can help their children recover with the help of a few self-care measures. These may include avoiding triggers, helping them to avoid scratching, giving them warm baths, choosing appropriate baby soaps, and using cool compresses (as it helps in reducing scratching). Using humidifiers and making your kids wear loose, smooth-textured cotton clothing, are some other effective ways to cope with the condition. Children must be educated about the importance of drinking plenty of water, and keeping their skin moisturized.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice.