If your infant's skin is dehydrated with patches of different colors, your pediatrician has likely told you about infant eczema. In this detailed article, learn about the reasons behind infant eczema, its symptoms, and the best treatment methods.
Atopic dermatitis, commonly known as eczema, is a chronic skin condition that typically appears in early childhood due to genetic or environmental factors. Red and itchy patches spread across the skin surface. Children with eczema are more prone to developing food allergies, asthma, and nasal allergies later in life. Eczema is defined as a skin condition that leads to troublesome symptoms, notably intense itching that may result in scratching, exacerbating the condition and creating opportunities for various infections. However, as some may believe, it is non-contagious and cannot be transmitted from one person to another.
Eczema is common among children; studies indicate that 10% of infants and children may experience this condition at some point in their lives, usually starting in the first year of a child's life.
The causes of infant eczema and children’s eczema are not precisely defined. Still, some doctors tend to attribute cases of childhood eczema to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. The likelihood of eczema increases in children with a family history of atopic dermatitis or asthma.
The immune response to various allergens varies among children, leading to skin irritation. While heat and dryness may irritate the skin in some children, others may exhibit allergic reactions to pollen or dust. Cleaning agents, viral infections, or intolerance to certain food types may also trigger eczema.
Many people find that eczema symptoms worsen, especially at night, making sleep difficult. Scratching eczema can further irritate and inflame the skin.
Doctors advise avoiding eczema triggers that exacerbate the condition, including:
Available eczema treatments focus on proper skin care for affected children and medications targeting symptom relief, such as itching and irritation. This is done following diagnosis and direct recommendations from a specialized dermatologist. The recommended medications may include:
Breastfeeding is an ideal way to protect children from eczema, thanks to the components in breast milk that can alleviate allergy symptoms compared to cow's milk ingredients. Directly applying breast milk to irritated skin areas is an effective and side-effect-free therapeutic option. Place small breast milk on a cloth or cotton ball and gently wipe the affected area.
If breastfeeding is not possible for any reason, doctors recommend using partially hydrolyzed infant formula, which contains long but broken protein chains, easing allergy symptoms for the child.
There is no need to worry; if your child has eczema, know that symptoms typically resolve in most cases between the ages of 3 and 5.