Eczema is considered as a common and frustrating skin condition for both children and their parents. Since there is no cure, many find it difficult to properly manage. The indicative symptom of eczema is an itchy rash that is reddened, irritated, rough, scaly and oozing. This rash usually starts in early infancy and at 5 years old. Even though the rash can fully subside with proper treatment, it is likely to recur at times.
Eczema is diagnosed based on the appearance of the itchy rash in the cheeks, forehead, legs and arms in infants while the creases or interior of the knees, elbows and ankles among older children.
Prevention of flare-ups
The basics in preventing the flare-ups of eczema includes avoidance of known triggers such as bubble baths, strong soaps, food allergies, dust mites, wool and polyester, overheating and sweating as well as ensuring that the skin is properly moisturized. Since some triggers are hard to pinpoint and avoid, moisturizing is a beneficial way to avoid flare-ups.
Dry skin can be prevented by giving the child a daily bath with lukewarm water and a mild moisturizing soap. After the bath, cover the child with a moisturizer to seal in the moisture into his/her skin.
Even though there are various types of moisturizers available, the greasy ointments are likely to work best. When selecting a moisturizer to use, it is recommended to try out several to check which works best and make sure to reapply at least 2-3 times throughout the day.
Once a child experiences a flare-up of eczema, the usual treatments include topical steroids and the latest non-steroidal medications. The topical steroids include over-the-counter hydrocortisone creams that are mild and can even be applied on the face as well as the potent steroids that require a prescription from a doctor.
The latest immunodulators or steroid-free topical medications are also used to manage eczema in children. These are utilized 2 times in a day for children over 2 years old and can be applied to all parts where eczema is present including the face. In addition, they can also prevent flare-ups if they are started at the initial sign of itchiness or a rash.
Antihistamines are also utilized as part of treatment for eczema. These medications are highly beneficial if the itchiness disrupts sleep especially the sedative types. The application of a cold compress can also help ease the urge of the child to scratch the affected areas.
Other treatment options are also used in managing cases of eczema that are hard to manage. These include the application of wet dressings, ultraviolet light therapy, oral steroids as well as immunosuppressive drugs such as cyclosporine.