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Health Information For Parents
Eczema is a condition where the skin gets irritated, red, dry, bumpy, and itchy. There are several types of eczema, but the most common is atopic dermatitis. To many people, “eczema” and “atopic dermatitis” mean the same thing.
The signs of eczema (EK-zeh-ma):
Symptoms can vary:
Doctors don’t know exactly what causes eczema. It might be that there’s a difference in the way a person’s immune system reacts to things. Skin allergies may be involved in some forms of eczema.
Many kids and teens with eczema have family members who have it. Experts think it passes from parents to kids through genes. Eczema is fairly common.
People with eczema also may have asthma and some types of allergies, such as hay fever. Eczema, asthma, and hay fever are known as “atopic” conditions. These affect people who are overly sensitive to allergens in the environment. For some, food allergies may bring these on or make them worse. For others, allergies to animal dander, dust, pollen or other things might be the triggers.
Eczema is not contagious.
There is no specific test used to diagnose eczema. The doctor will look at the rash and ask about symptoms, the child’s past health, and the family’s health. If family members have any atopic conditions, that’s an important clue.
The doctor will rule out other conditions that can cause skin inflammation, and might recommend that your child see a dermatologist or an allergist.
The doctor may ask you to ban some foods (such as eggs, milk, soy, or nuts) from your child’s diet, switch detergents or soaps, or make other changes for a time to see if your child is reacting to something.
There is no cure for eczema. But treatments can help with symptoms. The doctor will recommend different treatments based on how severe the symptoms are, the child’s age, and where the rash is. Some are “topical” and applied to the skin. Others are taken by mouth.
Topical moisturizers. Skin should be moisturized often (ideally, two or three times a day). The best time to apply moisturizer is after a bath or shower, with the skin patted dry gently. Ointments (such as petroleum jelly) and creams are best because they contain a lot of oil. Lotions have too much water to be helpful.
Topical corticosteroids, also called cortisone or steroid creams or ointments. These ease skin inflammation. (These aren’t the same as steroids used by some athletes.) It’s important not to use a topical steroid prescribed for someone else. These creams and ointments vary in strength, and using the wrong strength in sensitive areas can damage the skin, especially in infants.
Other topical anti-inflammatory medicines. These include medicines that change the way the skin’s immune system reacts.
Medicine taken by mouth. These can include antihistamines (anti-allergy medicine) to help itchy kids sleep better at night, antibiotics if a rash gets infected by bacteria, and corticosteroid pills or other medicines that suppress the immune system.
Other types of treatment can include:
Help prevent or treat eczema by keeping your child’s skin from getting dry or itchy and avoiding triggers that cause flare-ups. Try these suggestions:
Children and teens with eczema are prone to skin infections. Call your doctor right away if you notice any early signs of skin infection, such as
Also call your doctor if you notice a sudden change or worsening of the eczema, or if it isn’t responding to the doctor’s recommendations.
For many kids, eczema begins to improve by the age of 5 or 6. Sometimes it goes away. In other kids, it may start again as they enter puberty. Some people still have eczema as adults, with areas of itching that look dry and scaly.
Learn about contact dermatitis, inflammation of the skin that causes itching and discomfort.
Learn about dermatitis, inflammation of the skin that causes itching and discomfort.
Eczema herpeticum is a skin infection that occurs when the skin becomes infected by herpes simplex (the type of viruses that causes cold sores).
Dermatitis is an irritation or swelling of the skin – in other words, a skin rash.
Doctors are diagnosing more and more people with food allergies. Knowing what to expect and how to deal with food allergies can make a big difference in preventing serious illness.
If your skin has ever been super itchy, red, and dry, you might know about eczema.
No, hay fever’s not when a horse is sick!
If you think that you might have allergies, a special doctor called an allergist can help figure out what you are allergic to by giving you a skin test.
Visit our Asthma Center for information and advice on managing and living with asthma.
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Once a baby arrives, it can seem as if the laundry doubles! Many parents think they need to use baby detergent to clean their baby’s clothes, but in most cases, this isn’t necessary.
At various times of the year, pollen and mold spores trigger the cold-like symptoms associated with seasonal allergies. Most kids find relief through reduced exposure to allergens or with medicines.
Your eyes itch, your nose is running, you’re sneezing, and you’re covered in hives. The enemy known as allergies has struck again.
Sometimes it may seem like your skin is impossible to manage, especially when you find a huge zit on your nose or a cold sore at the corner of your mouth. Here are ways to prevent and treat common skin problems.
This harmless condition – the infant form of dandruff – causes rough, scaly patches on a baby’s skin.
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Millions of Americans, including many kids, have an allergy. Find out how allergies are diagnosed and how to keep them under control.
A scratch or skin prick test is a common way doctors find out more about a person’s allergies.
Asthma makes it hard to breathe. But with treatment, the condition can be managed so that kids can still do the things they love. Learn all about asthma.
Eczema is a common skin problem among teens. If you have eczema, read this article to find out more about it and how you can deal with the skin stress.
Everybody has dry skin once in a while, but eczema is more than just that. If your skin is dry, itchy, red, sore, and scaly, you may have eczema. Learn more about this uncomfortable condition and what you can to do stop itching!
Impetigo is a contagious skin infection that causes blisters or sores on the face, neck, hands, and diaper area. Learn how this common problem is treated and what can help prevent it.
Impetigo is a skin infection caused by fairly common bacteria. Read this article to learn how to recognize it and what to do about it.
Our skin protects the network of tissues, muscles, bones, nerves, blood vessels, and everything else inside our bodies. Hair and nails are actually modified types of skin.
Food allergies can cause serious and even deadly reactions in kids, so it’s important to know how to feed a child with food allergies and to prevent reactions.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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