Eczema: How to Help Your Child Avoid the Itch

Very sensitive skin is the hallmark of eczema. Symptoms of eczema vary from child to child and from day to day even in the same child.  They usually involve dry, red, itchy skin and rashes. The rashes can be oozing or very dry.  Eczema often runs in families with a history of eczema or other allergic conditions such as hay fever and asthma.
One of the most helpful things you can do is to prevent flare-ups before they happen. Many things can trigger your child’s eczema to flare, including winter weather. Here are some tips to manage your child’s eczema this winter:

  • Moisturize- Keeping skin moisturized is the mainstay of eczema management. Moisturizers should be fragrance free and used at least twice daily. There are many different types of moisturizers, see the link listed below for more information. Topical steroids may also be recommended, but check with your provider prior to starting.
  • Bath time- Keeping bath water lukewarm and bath time short at around ten minutes. A mild, unscented soap is recommended. Pat skin dry after the bath and then apply a moisturizer to the skin. Bathing in a very dilute bleach solution (1/4 cup to a full tub of water) or using a gentle bleach cleanser such as CLn two-three times a week may help also.
  • Fabrics- Avoid non-breathable fabrics – such as nylon or wool; wool is irritating, while soft cotton clothing is not. Clothes should also be loose fitting.
  • Avoid Sweat– Overheating and overdressing can cause heat and perspiration which are irritants to eczema.
  • Humidify dry air- A humidifier may be needed inside your home, especially if you use forced-air heat during the winter. If you do use a humidifier make sure the parts are cleaned regularly.
  • Gloves- Wear gloves outside to protect the hands and wrists from the dry cold air.
  • Take off wet items- Gloves, shoes, socks, hats, and outerwear all can get wet quickly from snow or rain. Damp clothing can be irritating to the skin.
  • Hand hygiene– Avoid alcohol based hand sanitizers as alcohol can be drying to the skin. Seek an alternative such as a mild soap or alcohol free based hand sanitizer. Also, keep the nails trimmed short to decrease skin trauma.

If you feel your child may have eczema and have never discussed with your child’s provider, please make an appointment to discuss these symptoms soon as it can lead to other skin infections.

There are many other ways to help manage your child’s eczema, for more information click on the following link: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/skin/Pages/Eczema.aspx .