Pediatric Services Raleigh NC
Eczema refers to a number of skin conditions in which the skin is red & irritated.
What Causes It?
The most common cause of eczema is atopic dermatitis which refers to skin that is sensitive to allergens in the environment.
About 1 in every 10 kids will develop eczema. Eczema is not an allergy in itself but allergies can trigger it. Eczema, hay fever, asthma and other allergies can coexist in the same child or in other family members.
Is It Contagious?
No, eczema is not contagious unless the eczematous skin is super infected with skin bacteria.
What Puts My Child At Risk of Getting it?
- Dry winter air
- Harsh soaps, detergents & skin care products
- Pollen, mold, animal dander, dust mites
- Emotional stress
- Excessive heat & sweating
- Some foods- dairy, eggs, soy, nuts, wheat in sensitive individuals
What are the signs and symptoms?
In infants eczema usually presents as itchy, dry, red skin with small bumps. In older children, it usually presents as circular, slightly raised, itchy and scaly rashes in the bends of the elbows and the knees.
When Should I Seek Help?
If your child seems uncomfortable or is not improving or you think it might be due to a food allergy or super infection, please call your pediatrician.
What Will My Doctor Do?
How is it Diagnosed?
There is no specific diagnostic test for eczema. A personal or family history of hay fever, asthma or other allergies is often an important clue. An allergist might sometimes do a skin, patch or blood test to check for potential allergens causing eczema.
What is the Treatment?
- Avoid any potential known triggers
- Avoid hot baths and scented soaps- use warm water with mild soaps/cleansers during bath time. Oatmeal soaking products can be used in the bath to help control itching
- Moisturizing ointments (Vaseline, Aquaphor, Cetaphil, Cerevae) lotions or creams should be applied on the child’s skin regularly and within a few minutes of bathing, after a very light towel dry
- Dress your child in soft clothes that “breathe” such as those made from 100% cotton
- Apply cool compresses on irritated areas to relieve itching
- Keep your child’s fingernails short to minimize skin damage caused by scratching
- Have your child drink plenty of water to keep the skin hydrated. Avoid having your child become overheated which can lead to flare ups
- Topical corticosteroids are the first line of treatment for flare ups
- Topical & oral antibiotics might be used if the eczematous skin looks infected
- Antihistamines can be used to control itching
- Immunomodulators can be used in unresponsive cases. Some older children with severe eczema may need to be treated with ultraviolet light under the supervision of a dermatologist
Eczema can have a prolonged course with flare ups throughout adolescence and early adulthood.
Skin care as recommended above can be used to prevent and treat flares. Avoiding potential foods or known allergens can avoid flares.
A professional should always be consulted when you believe your child has Eczema. At Durant Road Pediatrics’ convenient office located at 10880 Durant Road, Suite 215, Raleigh NC we take the extra time and effort to ensure the safety and comfort of your child. Contact us today to have Dr. Arora diagnose, treat and explain your Child’s illness and how to prevent future occurrences.