What is it? Eczema may be the culprit behind your child’s skin woes if you find patches of rough, dry, scaly skin that is reddened. It will also be itchy and scratchy.
Age to expect it. Infancy. More than half of children who develop eczema will do so within the first 12 months of life.
How long until it goes away? While there is no cure for eczema, most cases resolve by the teenage years. But it’s important to bear in mind that eczema isn’t always visibly present; it tends to flare up, then go away periodically while your child has it.
Parts of body most affected. Arms, legs, back of knees, and face – but any part of the skin can be affected.
Time of year to watch out for it. Winter is eczema’s Achilles’ heel and causes the greatest amount of flare-ups because that’s when the air outside is driest and dry heat is on indoors.
What causes it? Eczema is a result of genetic factors and is often seen in children whose family has a history of hay fever or asthma. As genetics cannot be changed, it is more important to focus on what factors cause your child’s eczema to act up. Dry skin is bad-guy number one when it comes to battling eczema.
Helpful hints. There are two prime ways to tackle eczema: keeping the skin well moisturized and limiting the allergens and irritants to which your child is exposed. Use a moisturizer daily (even multiple times a day!). The thick, bland, petroleum-based moisturizers are best. Kids with eczema usually have hypersensitive skin, so stay away from things that agitate the skin, like perfumes, fragrances, harsh soaps, and fabrics like wool.
When to consult a doctor. If moisturizing creams are not resolving the rash, a topical steroid may need to be prescribed, so you will need to dial your doctor for that. Also, eczema is often itchy, so if the rash becomes open and looks infected or swollen, a doctor should be consulted.
Medical myths debunked. Kids with eczema do not have to skip bath time. The water should be lukewarm, not soapy or bubbly, and baths should be limited to 15 minutes.