The appearance of any rash on a baby’s skin is enough to send new (or not-so-new) parents into a panic. However, it might just be baby eczema, a common condition that causes skin to become itchy, dry and red. Many babies develop baby eczema, including my youngest daughter who has had regular flare-ups since she was born. However the good news is that baby eczema can be easily treated and managed, bringing relief for everyone involved.
Atopic dermatitis is the most common form of eczema in babies and young children. When eczema flares up, you see patches of skin that are very dry, itchy, scaly, bumpy and enflamed. For children with lighter skin, eczema can appear red, while for those with darker skin, it may appear purple, grey or brown. With babies, you generally see eczema on their face. Toddlers develop it on their knees, ankles and inside their wrists. And as children grow older, it might also appear in the folds of elbows and knees.
Some babies develop eczema not long after birth, however many outgrow it by the time they are 5 to 10 years of age. It can be genetic, but often those who do suffer from eczema have dry skin, easily irritated by external triggers such as:
If your child has developed a rash and you’re not sure what it is, you should definitely consult your GP. If it is eczema, your doctor may prescribe a corticosteroid ointment or cream. For mild eczema, you can buy mild corticosteroid creams over the counter from the pharmacy such as hydrocortisone 1% cream. However if the condition is more serious, your doctor may describe one that is stronger.
While creams are good to deal with eczema in the short term, careful and consistent management is important and not hard to achieve. Here are some easy at-home tips to help you cope day-to-day with your little one’s eczema:
If you are at all worried about your child’s skin, you should make an appointment to chat with your GP or family healthcare nurse. And definitely seek medical advice should the following occur:
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