Any kind of rash on your child is worrying. While most are fairly harmless, some can be a symptom of serious illness. If you do notice any skin condition or rash appear on your child it is best to seek professional medical advice. If the rash is accompanied by a fever or lethargy you should get your child to the doctor or emergency room as soon as possible. They see a lot of eczema in children and the diagnosis is not always severe. Once you have had the diagnosis of eczema you can then look at the best treatment options.
What is Ezcema?
The term eczema refers to a number of different skin conditions with varying symptoms. From small red blisters to flaky, itchy, dry patches, all can cause itching, pain and discomfort. Left untreated, they can lead to infection and scarring so finding a good treatment is important. Eczema in children is more common than you would think. Approximately one in 10 children will develop eczema. This will most commonly happen in the first few months of life and almost always before the age of five. Thankfully most will have grown out of it before they reach their teens. While there is no known cure there are many possible triggers, and once you know the triggers you can avoid them.
Children who are prone to asthma, hay fever and food allergies are more likely to develop eczema. For some the condition may be triggered by a reaction to environmental factors such as mould, pollen, dust or animal fur. Others may find the rash is triggered by certain foods.
Once diagnosed, the initial medical treatment is usually prescription steroid creams. But many eczema sufferers have had success with natural remedies and changes in diet so alternatives such as these are definitely worth trying.
Here are a few suggestions that may ease the itch:
Calendula oil is made from the oil of the Calendula flower. It is a safe and gentle product to use. Calendula oil has anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antibacterial properties. Calendula is commonly available as an oil or cream and is often combined with other oils such as olive oil for added moisturising.
Coconut oil has become well known as a topical treatment for eczema. It has natural antibiotic and antibacterial properties that can moisturize, soothe and reduce inflammation. Coconut Oil also has vitamins and minerals that can aid healing and prevent scarring. Experts recommend organic, virgin coconut oil, but any type is still worth using.
Use soap free hypoallergenic cleansers, body washes and shampoos, these should be PH balanced and free of perfumes, parabens and steroids. Most pharmacies have a good range.
Use natural based cleaning products for around your home to avoid harsh chemicals that may cause irritation. Keep your home dust free and vacuum regularly, especially if you have pets. Because eczema is allergy related, these can be triggers too.
Wearing loose fitting clothing made from breathable natural fibres, such as cotton, can reduce irritation. Use a washing powder designed for sensitive skin and add an extra rinse cycle to ensure your clothes are properly rinsed.
Many eczema sufferers have had success with diet modification, including reducing inflammatory foods such as gluten and dairy. It may be possible to identify specific food triggers through an elimination program. This would involve avoiding certain foods for a period of time and then re introducing them to see if symptoms worsen.
Of course as with any health issue, following a healthy balanced diet and increasing fruits and vegetables can have very positive effects.
Avoid overly dry environments for long periods of time. Air conditioners and dehumidifiers are great for damp areas but can make your home very dry and worsen the symptoms of eczema such as scaling and itching.
Dangers of Excema in Children
While mostly mild and short term, for some children eczema can be severe and serious with risks. The main risk with severe eczema is the skin cracking, leaving opportunity for bacteria – particularly Staph, to cause infection. Using antiseptic ointments on areas of broken skin can help prevent infection.
Scarring is another concern with eczema in children. The more children itch the more likely they will get scarring, so it is important to find a good treatment. Putting cotton mittens on their hands can stop babies and toddlers from hard scratching.
Always seek professional medical advice if you are in any doubt with regards to your child’s health.
Do you have a little one with eczema? Let us know your tips in the comments below or over on our Facebook page!
‘Alexandra is a freelance writer and Mother of 2 girls aged 9 and 14. She enjoys writing about N.Z. family life and her own parenting experiences. Both her daughters have chronic health conditions which has led to a unique perspective on parenting. She writes about this along with many other topics in her blog:http://www.justmesayingblog.wordpress.com