Eczema or atopic dermatitis is a common skin condition afflicting toddlers. It is characterized by dry, scaly skin with tiny bumps that tend to bleed or crack. The itchy red rashes manifest themselves on the arms, legs and face of the baby.
This is often observed in the baby’s first year and often tends to get better as the baby ages. Although the condition is not contagious, the intense itching and dryness can be distressing for the baby.
There are no definitive causes that trigger off an eczema rash. The sensitivity of the immune system could be based on hereditary factors such as a family history of allergies such as hay fever, asthmatic bronchitis or eczema. Sometimes the dry scaly rashes could be indicative of a damaged skin and skin irritation caused by chemical allergens present in baby products like shampoos, bubble baths and soaps.
Washing powders and fabric conditioners used to wash the baby’s clothes can also irritate the baby’s sensitive skin and lead to an eczema flare up. Certain food allergies, a change in the temperature, reaction to woolen and synthetic fibers or certain substances in the air like pollens and dust can trigger off the skin irritation.
The symptoms may range from mild scaling to blood or pus filled rashes. The itching is severe and the constant scratching may lead to the rashes getting infected. The infection may cause the area to bleed or weep pus filled fluids. Based on the severity of the symptoms, the doctor may recommend certain medication and treatment options.
If the eczema is mild then it can cured with the help of emollients that soften and moisturize the skin. Available in the form of creams, lotions and ointments, these emollients help to clear off the rashes.
For the severe forms of eczema in babies, doctors may prescribe steroid creams to reduce the skin inflammation and other symptoms of infantile eczema. However these creams may trigger of certain side effects and should not be used without consulting a doctor first.
You can also try and avoid the triggering factors that cause eczema. Bathe your baby with mild soaps and shampoos using lukewarm water. Moreover keep your toddler’s skin well moisturized with baby lotions and creams to avoid skin dryness. Keep a checklist of the factors that may cause eczema in your child such as certain foods, household chemicals or dust. This helps you take steps to avoid these eczema triggers.