Eczema is a chronic skin problem that can cause you to have severely dry, irritated and itchy skin. Statistically, in 65% of cases, eczema sufferers will develop symptoms before the age of 1 and are likely to outgrow the condition by the age of 4. During this time, your child is likely to suffer from the symptoms of eczema which can consist of any of the following:
Itchy and irritable skin
Rashes that are either very dry or oozing
Eczema can appear anywhere on the body but depending on the sufferers age, it is more likely to show in specific areas. For example, in new-born babies, eczema is likely to appear on the face and scalp whereas in young children it often appears in the folds of their knees and elbows. Then, as sufferers get older, in their teenage/adult years eczema is more likely to appear as a rash on their hands and feet.
Suffering with eczema is struggle at any age but it can be particularly painful for babies and young children which is why is it important to understand ways in which to prevent flare ups.
The first step is to ensure that your child’s skin is moisturised as often as needed. By integrating a routine which involves your child moisturising they will begin to naturally adopt this as a part of their day. Any moisturiser used should be fragrance free as perfumed products can cause the skin to become more irritated. The best time to apply moisturiser is straight after the child has finished having their bath or shower. Once the child has been lightly patted with a towel you should apply the moisturiser to the affected areas whilst the skin is still damp.
This may seem like an obvious preventative measure, but it important that your regularly remind your child not to scratch their skin. If they scratch their skin enough it will make the rash even worse and could cause it to become infected. Try to keep their nails are short and smooth as possible so that they do not cause as much irritation or damage if they scratch themselves- particularly in the night.
There are many things that can irritate your child’s skin, so it is important to recognise them and avoid them at all costs. To do so your child should bathe for shorter amounts of time, making sure that the water is at room temperature. You should also make sure that their clothing, particularly clothing they sleep in, is soft and 100% cotton to allow their skin to breathe. When washing the clothing it is also advisable to skip to fabric softener and any detergent you use should have no perfumes or bleach within.
Many people aren’t aware that eczema can be caused by allergies to food, pollen, dust or even food and each of these can trigger a rash. If you feel like this may be the case for your child, you may wish to consult your doctor to see what can be done. Equally, if it is not an allergy related flare up, it may be worth asking your doctor about other causes such as sweating and being overly stressed.
It is worth taking a look at ScratchSleeves, which manufactures and sells unique stay-on scratch mitts for babies, toddlers and children suffering from eczema. They stock sizes from 0-8 years in a range of colours.