Many things can trigger flare ups of eczema. Some common ones are:
Very hot and very cold climates
Exposure to allergens or irritants such as:
Perfumes in soaps
Dust mites (common)
Nickel in jewelry
Latex, such as in rubber gloves
Frequent washing, scratching or rubbing of the skin
Eczema usually begins at 3 to 6 months of age. It may improve by ages 5 to 7 years. For some, it continues into adolescence and early adulthood.
Symptoms can appear anywhere on the body. They may include:
Dry, itchy skin
Cracks behind the ears or in skin creases
Red patches on the cheeks, arms, and legs
A red, scaly rash
Thick, leathery skin
Crusting, oozing, or cracking of the skin
The doctor will ask about your child’s symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. The diagnosis is based on symptoms and how the skin looks. The child may need to see an allergy or skin doctor for testing.
There is no cure for eczema. The goals of treatment are to heal the skin and prevent flare-ups.
Options may be:
Skin care to reduce irritation and dry skin, such as:
Using moisturizing creams
Limiting baths and showers
Avoiding irritating soaps and gels
Medicines such as:
Steroid ointments to reduce inflammation
Antihistamines to prevent itching
Antibiotic pills or creams to treat infections
If skin care and medicines do not help,
may be used on the skin.
Eczema is difficult to prevent. Things that may help lower the risk in children are:
Using formula with hydrolyzed casein or 100% whey protein
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