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Children's Eczema - Environment Plays A Part

Although a great deal of research has failed to discover the reason why eczema affects some people and not others it is clear that the immune system is involved. This skin complaint is usually triggered by an adverse reaction to a substance, foodstuff or chemical etc. Often with baby eczema, the condition results in a rash that gets increasingly worse if not treated until the skin becomes cracked. In babies, the disorder unfortunately affects between 10% and 20% of all infants in the United States.

Fortunately, most of these cases of have cleared up before the child reaches 2 years old. A small percentage of children will not be this fortunate and will experience this condition when they are adults and it will sometimes become a chronic complaint. This is primarily a condition suffered by babies and young children although it can affect someone of any age. About 1/3 of all patients develop symptoms before their1st birthday, and almost all develop symptoms before 5 years.

Seen as a red, itchy and scaly rash, baby eczema is usually of the more common atopic eczema variety. Strangely, atopic eczema is also hereditary and often starts when the baby's skin is not moisturized regularly. Sometimes it is the washing powder or fabric conditioner that triggers the disorder, something that can be a cause of the adult condition as well. It has also discovered that baby eczema was more likely if the mother gave up breastfeeding early which could mean that breast milk may contain something that protects the infant.

Some instances of this skin complaint have also been linked to a variety of medical problems which seem to trigger the inflammation. Food allergies in the baby or allergic rhinitis can also cause this condition to flare up but if the baby's mother suffers with asthma, this can also be a contributing factor. The number of childhood cases where food is responsible for the condition is considerable at almost 30 percent; however, once the food responsible is discovered, it can be taken out of the child's diet. Unfortunately, the process of eliminating foods is usually one of trial and error; some commonly implicated foods are:

  • Sea-Food
  • Food containing milk
  • Wheat
  • Food prepared using eggs
  • Peanuts

In some instances, baby eczema is the result of antibiotics being prescribed for the child when they are born. The treatment with babies involves bathing in lukewarm water, and proper skin lubrication with hypoallergenic creams. After washing, a baby needs to be dressed in natural fabrics such as cotton; using only fragrance-free products, can also help. The best way to stop a baby scratching and causing further infection is to keep their nails short and make sure they wear mittens. For infants with more serious baby eczema, antihistamine cream may be prescribed which should help stop the itching; steroid creams can also be used for a short period to help heal the skin. It is not yet possible to completely cure this skin complaint but at least a number of treatments can help ease the situation.


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