Posted by Kelly M on October 16, 2003 at 06:02:01:
In Reply to: eczema posted by JuneY on October 16, 2003 at 01:43:00:
I found this of a site hope it helps!
My baby has scaly red patches on her skin. What is this ugly rash?
It sounds as if your baby has eczema (also called atopic dermatitis), an itchy skin rash that can crop up on a baby's cherubic skin when a child is as young as 2 months old. It generally shows up on the forehead, cheeks, or scalp and sometimes spreads to the arms or chest. The rash often shows up as dry, thickened scaly skin, but is sometimes made up of tiny red bumps that may ooze or become infected if scratched. Eczema is thought to be a reaction to allergy-causing substances in the environment.
How common is eczema in babies?
About 10 percent of infants have eczema at some point, but many improve before they're 2 years old. Because the condition is often inherited, your child is more likely to develop eczema if you or some other close family member has any kind of allergic condition, says Amy Paller, professor of pediatrics and dermatology at Northwestern University Medical School in Chicago.
What can I do to treat eczema?
Bathe your baby only two or three times a week to keep her skin from drying out. Try to limit her time in the tub to just a few minutes, and don't make the water too warm, since warm water dehydrates the skin faster. As soon as you get her out of the tub, pat her skin dry and then apply plenty of moisturizing cream right away. The greasier the better, says Charles Shubin, a Baltimore pediatrician, who claims he used Crisco to moisturize his own kids' skin when they were younger. The idea is to seal in the water that's been absorbed into the skin during the bath.
Don't overdress your baby. Dress her in clothing made of natural fabrics such as cotton, which are less likely to irritate skin than synthetics and will allow the skin to breathe, so she'll sweat less.
Try to keep your baby from scratching the rash by keeping her nails cut short and putting her to bed with cotton mittens or socks on her hands. Scratching can further irritate the skin and lead to infection. Since she may be trying to get relief by rubbing her face against her crib sheet at night, be sure to use the softest sheet possible so there won't be so much friction. If the scratching continues to be a problem and seems to be preventing your baby from sleeping, ask your doctor if you can give your baby a dose of the antihistamine Benadryl before bed. Not only will the Benadryl cut down on the itchy feeling, it can also make your baby drowsy and better able to fall sleep.
What should I do if the rash keeps recurring?
See your pediatrician. She should be able to give you some tips on how to manage your baby's condition, including the following:
Since many experts believe that eczema is linked to food allergies, you should delay introducing your child to the more common triggers such as cow's milk, eggs, wheat, soy, peanuts, and fish. If you continue breastfeeding, consider staying away from these foods yourself, since you could be passing the proteins on to your baby through your breast milk.
If you're using formula, your doctor may suggest that you try switching to a soy-based formula --though this isn't always the solution since many kids who are allergic to milk are allergic to soy as well. If your baby has started solids, your pediatrician may suggest cutting other foods out of her diet one by one to see whether her condition improves with the elimination of these foods.
Sometimes allergy triggers such as pollen, dust mites, and animal dander can make eczema worse. If your doctor suspects this to be the case, she'll probably refer you to an allergist who can provide tips on how to keep your home relatively free of allergens. These tips may include more efficient ways of vacuuming and dusting, using air filters, and possibly getting rid of carpets and upholstered furniture.
Since some skin products can irritate your baby's eczema, you may want to switch to fragrance-free soaps and shampoos or those made for sensitive skin. You can also use mild detergents that are fragrance-free or made for sensitive skin when washing her clothes and bedding.
In a case of severe eczema, some doctors find that using an over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream on the affected areas can work wonders when nothing else has. Sometimes a short course of oral steroid medicine can help get eczema under control enough so that the methods mentioned above work more effectively.
Will my child always have eczema?
Unfortunately, he may. Many young children with eczema continue to have outbreaks throughout their lives. But there are ways to manage the condition. By following the measures mentioned above, being rigorous about limiting exposure to allergens, and treating any flare-ups immediately, you can help to keep your child's eczema under control.