What Parents Need to Know About Eczema and Babies
About 20% of babies will develop eczema. The itchy rash usually starts before they are five years old. Most children will outgrow it. It can still be concerning for parents who want to do anything they can to help their babies be comfortable.
What are the Symptoms of Eczema?
Eczema, a very itchy rash, looks like dry, scaly, and thick skin. It may also have a bunch of tiny red bumps. If the bumps are scratched, they can ooze or become infected. It can present social challenges for toddlers and children since the rash can be quite unsightly. In babies, eczema usually shows up on the scalp and cheeks; however, it can show up anywhere on their bodies. After the baby reaches one year of age, it is more likely to show up on the ankles, wrists, inside the elbows, or on the backs of their knees. A doctor or pediatrician can diagnose eczema. However, they may send you to a dermatologist to be treated.
What Causes Eczema?
There are a few things that can cause eczema. It’s not an allergic reaction to any kind of substance. However, irritants and allergens in the environment, like cigarette smoke or pollen, can be triggers. Genetics can also play a role as it often runs in families. If a close family member has had eczema, allergies, or asthma, your baby is more likely to develop the condition.
Medical Treatment for Eczema
Mild eczema is often manageable simply by avoiding known triggers. Discuss possible over-the-counter creams or ointments that can help heal your baby or child’s skin. The doctor may also prescribe a topical steroid or non-steroid eczema treatment cream. In some cases, a “biologic” medicine may be prescribed to help calm the part of the immune system causing the skin rash. Probiotics are often used to help prevent eczema in babies and infants who have a high risk of developing eczema or allergies.
Can I Help Prevent My Child from Scratching Eczema Flare-ups?
Toddlers and young children may try to find some relief by scratching red patches. They may rub their hands against their face. But rubbing and scratching can cause more irritation and inflammation, so you’ll want to prevent this. Here are a couple of tips.
- Use the softest sheets you have in their bed or crib.
- Keep their fingernails trimmed.
- Put mittens or socks on their hands when you put them to bed. If they are younger, put a onesie with fold-over mittens on them.
If your baby is having difficulty sleeping because of eczema, their pediatrician may recommend an antihistamine to help them rest better.
Avoiding Eczema Triggers and Preventing Flare-ups
You may begin to discover what triggers eczema for your child. This is helpful, as you can avoid those things. Here are a few common triggers.
Allergens. Some examples of common allergens include dust, pet dander, pollen, preservatives, and food coloring. When eczema is triggered by environmental allergens, consult with an allergist to learn how allergies can best be dealt with. Around 10% of the time, eczema is triggered by food allergens. Usually, it is dairy or eggs that cause a flare-up. But soy, peanuts, fish, and wheat are also common triggers to avoid. If your baby is still eating formula, ask your doctor about changing to a non-soy, hypoallergenic variety.
Temperature Extremes. Hotter weather can cause sweating, which can be irritating to the skin. Colder weather produces drier air which can cause the skin to become dry and itchy.
Synthetic Fabrics. Your baby’s or child’s skin needs to be able to breathe and stay cool. Many synthetic fabrics are scratchy and do not allow the skin to breathe properly. Avoid scratchy materials, which can irritate baby’s sensitive skin. At Little Biscuits, we recommend natural bamboo fabrics for the items that will be next to baby’s skin. Bamboo has natural breathability and helps babies regulate their body temperature, so it’s great for both winter and summer. Our bamboo clothing was also awarded the Seal of Acceptance from the National Eczema Association.
When to Call the Doctor
If a case of eczema reaches severe stages, your child could develop a Staph infection and require antibiotics. Call your child’s primary care doctor or pediatrician if your child starts running a fever or has other signs of an infection, including:
- Their rash becomes warm to the touch.
- The rash begins oozing or develops a yellow crust.
- The bumps become fluid-filled or pus-filled.
At Little Biscuits Clothing, you’ll find a line of natural bamboo clothing that doesn’t cause irritation to baby’s skin. It’s softer and safer than cotton, and it can help regulate their body temperature to prevent sweating. This helps keep their skin from becoming irritated. Not sure where to start or want to learn more about our clothing line? Contact us we’ll be happy to help!