Eczema affects more than 31 million Americans. In children, that means 1 in every 10 have this skin condition. Eczema also affects 10-20% of infants. Infants and children often outgrow the condition as they get older, but in the meantime, they need help managing it.
Eczema most likely occurs due to a combination of genetics and a hyperactive immune system. The skin of children with eczema overreacts to triggers in their environment. For a person without eczema, these triggers are harmless, but if your child has eczema, they develop itchy, dry, and bumpy rashes in response to contact with triggers.
Eczema may show up in small patches, or it may affect large areas of the body. The most common sites for eczema are the insides of the elbows, backs of the knees, hands, face, and scalp.
There are many types of eczema but atopic dermatitis is by far the most common. If your child has this form of eczema, Dr. Margaret Lubega here at First Pediatric Care Center in Gastonia, North Carolina, can help. She offers management and treatment to help your child be as comfortable as possible, especially during outbreaks.
The first step in eczema management is awareness of triggers. Here are some of the most common ones.
Eczema can flare up in response to certain chemicals found in soaps and detergents. Shampoos, bubble bath, and even some lotions can be triggers. Dr. Lubega recommends gentle, unscented soaps and detergents.
Environmental factors that trigger asthma and allergies often also trigger eczema. This includes dust mites, pet fur, molds, and pollen. If your child has food allergies, they can show up as eczema, too.
Dr. Lubega may recommend allergy testing. When you identify your child’s allergens, she helps you manage them with medication and lifestyle changes.
Cold and dry weather can dry out the skin, which triggers eczema. Humidity and heat cause sweating, which makes itching worse.
Everyone should protect their skin from the sun using sunscreen. Talk to Dr. Lubega about the type that is safest for children with eczema. For some kids, sun exposure can make eczema feel better while for others, it can make it worse.
Certain fabrics, especially when worn against the skin, can irritate eczema. Clothing made of wool and synthetic fibers, like polyester and nylon, can irritate skin and make it itchy. Look for lighter fabrics made of cotton, bamboo, or even silk.
Children with eczema may also be bothered by zippers, threads, or rough seams that rub against the skin.
While you may identify stress with adulthood, children also experience it. School and social situations can cause a child to feel overwhelmed, which – if they’re prone to eczema – can lead to an outbreak. Dr. Lubega can help you come up with strategies to help your child manage stress and relax more.
Triggers are tricky
What can make identifying your child’s eczema triggers tricky is that a flare can appear some time after exposure. Eczema affects each person differently, so your child may not be affected by triggers that affect others.
The best way to deal with eczema and to prevent flare-ups in response to triggers is to have a comprehensive skin care routine that includes lukewarm baths as well as soaps and lotions made for sensitive skin. Do your best to feed your child anti-inflammatory foods, keep them hydrated, and protect their skin in extreme temperatures.
Dr. Lubega welcomes you for an appointment to discuss your child’s eczema symptoms and to help you with management. Call us atl First Pediatric Care Center today or use the online tool to schedule your visit.