Sunday 19 February 2017

Get expert advice on how to manage childhood eczema

Published 18/04/2011 | 05:00

Around one in 10 babies and little children have eczema, which is a dry, itchy inflammation of the skin that usually appears on the elbows, the creases of the knees, the wrists and the neck.

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By their teens 75pc of children have grown out of the condition. Here are tips on helping children cope.

Get professional advice

If you think your baby or child has eczema, see your GP to get treatment. Don't try to treat it by yourself. Each case can need different treatment.

Get into a bedtime routine

Children with eczema often find sleeping a problem, as their skin may get hotter and itchier at night. Keep their bedroom cool and use cotton sheets.

Don't overdo the products

Soap and bubble baths can make eczema far worse, and a recent study found that washing your baby too often can make them more likely to suffer from eczema (possibly due to harsh chemicals in soaps).

Moisturise

Over-dry skin is more likely to flare up or become infected with bacteria or a virus. Use creams as directed by your GP to make sure the affected skin is kept as soft and moist as possible.

Help with scratching

See if your child scratches at certain times of the day, for example while watching TV, and try to teach them to do something else instead, such as tightly holding their arm.

Look at their diet

In about 10pc of children with eczema, certain foods can trigger the condition, including: milk, eggs, citrus fruit, chocolate, peanuts and colourings. Keep them cool

Heat can make the skin itch more, so after your child has been running around try to keep them as cool as possible in loose clothing. If they've been swimming, rinse off any chlorine from the pool, as this can irritate the skin.

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