Every child gets rashes at some point, in one form or another. But when eczema rears its ugly head, all any parent wants is relief for their child’s itching and pain. It is especially challenging for young children because they don’t understand why they shouldn’t scratch. Explaining to a two year old why they can’t scratch an itch is a daunting task no parent wants to tackle. So now what?
There are steps you can take to help relieve your child of the itch and sting of eczema. From good daily habits to proper nutrition, there are many ways to approach the skin disease. There are also great creams and lotions you can find that will help your child.
Here are a few tips you can use to alleviate your child’s suffering:
Heat and Hot Water
One of the worst agitators of eczema is heat of any type. Whether hot water, weather or from a snug diaper, heat can irritate a child’s skin and while it isn’t necessarily the cause of eczema, it can cause flare ups. The best thing to do is to keep your child cool, including cooler water for baths and cold compresses for hot days or irritated areas.
Bleach baths are recommended by the American Academy of Dermatology. They are an effective form of treatment for eczema in both children and adults. If you are considering implementing these soaks as part of your eczema skin care regimen, it is important to learn how to prepare the bath safely. Dr Eberting also suggests considering vinegar baths as an alternative to bleach. She has written an article, Bleach or Vinegar: A Recipe for Eczema that explains in depth how to prepare the bath and which might be better for your child.
Eczema isn’t an allergic reaction but certainly allergens play a factor in flare ups. Pet dander, dust, and pollen can all cause the red rash to appear or inflame worse. If your child hasn’t been tested yet, consult your pediatrician on the best approach for the allergens. Keeping your child well hydrated and moisturized is one way to help keep allergic reactions from affecting your child’s skin.
Stop the Scratching
It is almost impossible to speak reason to a two year old, especially when they are suffering. So frequently kids scratch their eczema which can cause infection and make things much worse. Keep your child’s nails short to minimize the damage from scratching. If at night when they sleep they are itching themselves, try putting gloves on their hands. Make it a game and they will have fun without realizing what your actual goal is.
Be laundry cautious. Choose free and clear detergents and avoid fabric softeners and dryer sheets altogether. Dryer sheets and fabric softeners are common allergens and irritants of eczema and sensitive skin. There are several other laundry tips to consider, when living with eczema.
Combat Cold Weather
People who live in extremely cold climates may experience a worsening of eczema flares. The cold, dries out the skin. Moisturizing is your best defense to safeguard against unwanted breakouts. When the weather is severely cold, moisturize up to four times a day. Utilize an ointment during winter months for optimal moisture lock. Invest in a humidifier to add moisture to the air. Ideal moisture is between 40 and 50%
It is important to monitor your child’s skin issues so you know when you need to call the doctor. Most eczema is treatable and flare ups manageable but if your child runs a fever or has pus-filled bumps, it is time to call your pediatrician. If the irritation looks like fever blisters or if the area is warm to the touch, it could be signs of infection.
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