The term eczema refers to a number of different skin conditions in which the skin is red and irritated and occasionally results in small, fluid-filled bumps that become moist and ooze.
The most common cause of eczema is atopic dermatitis.
The word "atopic" describes conditions that occur when someone is overly sensitive to allergens in their environment such as pollens, dust, animal hair, and certain foods. "Dermatitis" means that the skin is inflamed, or red and sore.
Kids who get eczema often have family members with hay fever, asthma or other allergies. Some experts think these kids may be genetically predisposed to get eczema, which means characteristics have been passed on from parents that make a child more likely to get it, in our family for instance both my ex and I have allergies and asthma related issues as well as other family members so in the words of our doctor- our kids didn’t stand a chance- Loghan gets bad hay fever, Gabriel has the hay fever, food allergies and eczema and Jess seems to be ok so far.
About half of the kids who get eczema will also someday develop hay fever or asthma themselves. Eczema is not an allergy itself, but allergies can trigger eczema. Some environmental factors (such as excessive heat or emotional stress can also trigger the condition.
Gabriels break outs are often made worse by his food allergies and hayfever.
About 1 out of every 10 kids develops eczema. Typically, symptoms appear within the first few months of life, and almost always before a child turns 5. But the good news is that more than half of the kids who have eczema today will be over it by the time they're teenagers.
Gabriel showed signs from about a year while Loghan we only noticed this year and it was actually the doctor who picked it up because he kept wrinkeling his nose and wiping his nose constantly.
Signs and symptoms to look for
Signs and symptoms of eczema can vary widely during the early phases. Between 2 and 6 months of age (and almost always before they're 5 years old), kids with eczema usually develop itchy, dry, red skin and small bumps on their cheeks, forehead, or scalp. The rash may spread to the extremities (the arms and legs) and the trunk, and red, crusted, or open lesions may appear on any area affected.
They may also experience circular, slightly raised, itchy, and scaly rashes in the bends of the elbows, behind the knees, or on the backs of the wrists and ankles. these are the worst target areas as they are the areas that tend to get hot and sweaty.
As kids get older, the rash is usually less oozy and scalier than it was when the eczema first began, and the skin is extremely itchy and dry. These symptoms also tend to worsen and improve over time, with flare-ups occurring periodically.
Children often try to relieve the itching by rubbing the affected areas with a hand or anything within reach. But scratching can make the rash worse and can eventually lead to thickened, brownish areas on the skin.
Tips for you and your child
-Don't try to treat eczema by yourself. Each case can need different treatment, which usually involves a combination of moisturizers and steroid creams/ ointments.
-If their skin becomes red and starts to seep liquid, it may be infected, in which case see your GP immediately, infections are a huge issue with eczema in children.
- Keep their bedroom cool and use cotton sheets or a light, natural-fiber duvet, pure cotton sheets are a bit pricey but it was well worth it for us.
-Apply moisturizer at least 20 minutes before bedtime to allow it to soak in or after a bath when the pores are open.
-Keep pets out of the bedroom, as dogs and cats can make eczema worse, our doctor did however say that having pets in the house does help develop an immunity?
-Avoid harsh soaps, shampoos and bath oils nothing fragranced.
-Soap and bubble bath can make eczema far worse, as can washing your child too often.
-Bathe your child in warm – not hot water.
-Use lots of moisturizer
-Dry skin is more likely to flare up or become infected with a bacteria or virus. Use creams on your child as directed by your GP to make sure the skin affected by eczema is kept as soft and moist as possible.
-Keep their nails short.
-Cotton clothes rather than wool may lessen the itching.
-Eczema usually starts when a baby is around six months old. In about 10% of cases it is triggered by foods, including , citrus fruit, chocolate, milk, eggs, peanuts and colourings.
If you suspect a food is causing your child's eczema, it's important to seek advice from your GP before you cut out the food to make sure your child still gets a balanced diet.
-Heat can make the skin itch more, so after your child has been running around or playing sports try to keep them as cool as possible in loose clothing.
-If they've been swimming, rinse off any chlorine from the pool, as this can irritate the skin.
- Bathe your child in warm — not hot — water.
- Limit your child’s time in the bath to 5 or 10 minutes.
- Use cleanser only when needed and make sure the cleanser is mild and fragrance-free. Do not use bubble bath.
- After bathing, gently pat your child’s skin partially dry.
- If your child has medicine that you apply to the skin, apply medicine when your child’s skin is almost dry and use the medicine as directed.
- Apply moisturizer on top of the medicine and to the rest of your child’s skin.
Tips for choosing a moisturizer
- When selecting a moisturizer, consider choosing a thick cream or ointment.
- When selecting a product, “trial and error” sampling of different types may help to identify the best moisturizer for your child.
Skin care tips
- For best results, apply moisturizer at least twice a day. This prevents dryness and cracking. It also can decrease the need for eczema medications.
- Keep your child’s fingernails short and smooth. This decreases the likelihood that scratching will puncture the skin. Putting cotton gloves on your child’s hands at night may help prevent scratching during sleep.
- Keep temperature and humidity levels comfortable. Avoid situations in which the air is extremely dry, or where your child may sweat and overheat. This is the most common trigger of the itch/scratch cycle.
- Using a laundry detergent made for sensitive skin may be beneficial.
- Do not use fabric softeners
- Only use the recommended amount of detergent.
- Use enough water for adequate rinsing.
- Buy clothes without tags because tags can rub against the skin, causing irritation or cut the tags out.
- Wash your child’s new clothes before wearing. This will remove excess dyes and fabric finishers, which can irritate the skin.
This is what we use with Gabriel:
Epi max- is a moisturiser found at dischem, clicks in fact most stores, we use this throughout the day and also after his bath when his pores are open and most absorbent over his cortisone creams.
Epizone E- is a salf/ ointment that we use as a soap alternative it is very strange but it lathers up well and leaves a protective layer on the skin.
Lenovate and Locoid are both cortisone creams/ointments which we only use when he has a flare up and stop using immediately when we see that it has subsided- cortisone thins the skin so it is extremely important that you only use it when needed.
Alergex syrup- what we use daily for his allergies and hay fever, we were prescribed an antihistamine tablet but I can’t remember the name now- we use that at night when the itching disrupts his sleep.
If we do use a body wash we use the Johnson’s and Johnson’s top to toe it is the most ph balanced and most sensitive wash as recommended by his dermatologist.
I hope these tips helped it is not easy having an allergy prone child and it has been a long road for us- we were told by the dermatologist that 60% of children outgrow eczema by their teens but considering I have eczema and their father is also extremely allergic I am not holding my breath for that although it would be great!