Childhood eczema is a very common condition. In the United States, 10.7% of children suffer from this condition, and in some states, the rate is as high as 18.1%. Here are four things parents need to know about childhood eczema.
What are the signs of childhood eczema?
The symptoms of eczema usually develop before age five. If your child develops eczema, you may notice that they have severely itchy skin. Excessive itching can make the affected skin raw and swollen. This itchy skin may leak fluids or become crusty, and you may see small, raised bumps on their skin. If you notice these signs, don't just assume that your child has dry skin. Take them to a dermatologist to find out if they're suffering from childhood eczema.
What causes childhood eczema?
Childhood eczema is caused by an overactive immune system. In kids with eczema, the immune system reacts too strongly to clothing, sweat, low humidity levels and other irritants.
Since genetics play a major role in the development of a person's immune system, eczema can also be hereditary. If you or your spouse suffer from eczema, your child may inherit the genes that cause eczema from one or both of you. Many different gene combinations can result in eczema, so it's hard for researchers to predict which kids will get eczema.
Are there any home remedies?
Eczema is a chronic condition, and most kids who suffer from childhood eczema will still have eczema when they're adults. However, there are many ways to manage the condition.
Home remedies like moisturizers can help lock in moisture and control eczema symptoms. Teach your child to apply lotion right after they have a bath or shower and after they wash their hands.
It's also important to teach your child to avoid things that trigger their eczema. Triggers may include things like perfumed soaps and lotions, household cleaners, scratchy fabrics, dry environments, allergens, and more. Sweat can also trigger a flare-up of eczema, so if you child plays sports, make sure they rinse in a warm shower immediately after practice.
Are medications available?
If your child's eczema can't be controlled at home, medications are available. Corticosteroid creams can be prescribed to quickly get rid of the itching and inflammation and give your child's skin a chance to heal. Drugs that suppress the immune system can also be prescribed; they work by keeping the body from overreacting to triggers.
For more information, contact Snow Creek Medical Center or a similar location.