Infantile eczema is an allergy causing areas of itchy, red, scaly skin. This inflammatory skin condition most commonly affects the face and skin creases such as the inside of the elbows and the back of the knees but it can occur more widespread.
In its worst stage, it can weep profusely. It usually first appears between the ages of 3-4 months and 2 years, improving as the child grows older.
About half of all children with eczema outgrow it by the age of six and nearly all of them outgrow it by puberty. Your child is more likely to develop eczema if there is a family history of sufferers from allergies such as asthma and hayfever.
It is best treated by a paediatric dermatologist who will prescribe an anti-inflammatory cream and antihistamines to curb itching. If the area is infected, an antibiotic may be prescribed. A doctor will also try to assist you in identifying the cause.
How can I help?
- Keep contact with water to a minimum. When bathing your child, clean the affected area by wiping with baby oil or baby lotion that has been applied to cotton wool rather than washing with soap. Soap and water are dehydrating.
- Dress your child in cotton clothing to avoid skin irritation. If it is cold, use cotton clothing under warm layers.
- Keep the skin well moisturised by regularly applying an unscented aqueous cream. This can also be applied when itchy.
- Try to stop your child from scratching the affected areas. If they are very young, use a pair of mittens on them at night. Older children will understand and you can assist by keeping their fingernails short.
This is a rash which is caused by saliva irritating the lips and surrounding skin as a result of excessive lip-licking or thumb-sucking. The skin appears scaly red and inflamed causing chapped lips which are sore. This can be treated with lip balms and by assisting you child at breaking the habit.