Eczema can affect children as well, and when it does, it can become extremely uncomfortable for the infant, and extremely frustrating for the parents. Luckily, there are a few simple remedies that can help to treat this condition, and in this HealthHearty article, we take a look at these remedies.
Eczema is a common skin problem, which when occurs in babies and small children, is often referred to as atopic dermatitis. This is a form of skin rash that usually appears in the first year after birth. Initially, the rashes are found on the forehead, scalp, and cheeks, but later spreads to other parts of the body, like the arms, legs, chest, etc. Eczema is not contagious in nature, and occurs more on sensitive and dry skin.
The exact cause of eczema in infants is not clearly known, but in most cases it has been found that the child inherits it from the parents. It can be triggered by allergens present in the baby’s diet. If the infant is breastfeeding, then the allergens of the mother’s diet can also cause eczema in the infant. Other causes are dry skin, heat, and change in temperature. Certain irritants, like chemicals present in soaps, detergents, and lotions can cause eczema when they come in contact with the skin.
The main symptoms are reddening of the skin and continuous itching. Excessive itching is the first sign of eczema. This gets aggravated with direct contact with clothing and bedclothes. When the child starts scratching, the growth of skin rashes take place. In such a condition, the skin loses its natural preventive qualities and tends to remain damp all the time. As a result, it becomes prone to bacterial infection. Rashes of eczema look like dry thick scales on the surface of the skin. Sometimes, they appear in the form of small bumpy rashes that tend to ooze and get infected.
The first step towards treating eczema in infants is the application of lotions and creams that can reduce the itchiness, inflammation, and dryness of the skin. For this, hydrocortisone creams are prescribed by doctors. Oral corticosteroids are also administered. In case of severe eczema, medicines like antihistamines and antibiotics may be required to control the itching and infection. However, these medicines cannot be used for a long time due to their side effects.
The disadvantage of medicinal treatment is that the symptoms can relapse once the medicine is discontinued. For this reason, people look for methods that can help keep the symptoms in check.
- Direct application of a cold compress on the itchy skin is the best way to provide relief.
- Bath your child in lukewarm water. Avoid hot or very warm water as it will aggravate the symptoms. In the bath water, add a cup of table salt to soothe up the rashes. Long baths are an absolute no-no in this condition.
- Try not to use any soap while bathing your child. If necessary, use mild soaps that have a high moisturizing content and are unscented.
- The skin has to be kept in a well-moisturized condition. For this, petroleum jelly is the best. Apply it immediately after a bath when the skin is still moist. It should be applied at least thrice daily for best results.
- In order to prevent your baby from scratching the skin, keep the nails well trimmed. Covering the affected part or covering the hands with mittens will also prevent the rashes from getting scratched.
Unfortunately, there is no permanent cure for eczema. Most of the time, the symptoms disappear as the child grows up. In other cases, it may remain throughout the child’s life. However, the condition can be treated and its recurrence can be prevented with the help of proper skin care.