If you have an infant, it is hard to imagine anything going wrong with your little bundle of joy, no matter how big or small it may be. Infants and babies are supposed to be dimpled and pink, very true. However, the colour pink need not come from a rash or eczema. The very mention of the word eczema spells blotchy skin and irritating, and sometimes even painful, rashes. It looks ugly on us grownups; imagine just how a baby would deal with it. They are unable to tell us how much it hurts when their bodies are covered in rash. Though many of us do acknowledge that a baby’s skin is most sensitive, we often forget to see to it that they have adequately mouisturised bodies so that they do not experience rashes. The worst part of the deal is that even doctors are not sure as to why infants and babies suffer from eczema. There are, however, ways to cure eczema, or get rid of it. Read on to know more about eczema in infants or infantile eczema.
What is Infantile Eczema?
The term eczema refers to a number of different skin conditions in which the skin is red and irritated and occasionally results in small, fluid-filled bumps that become moist and ooze. The most common cause of eczema is atopic dermatitis, sometimes called infantile eczema although it occurs in infants and older children.
The word "atopic" describes conditions that occur when someone is overly sensitive to allergens in their environment such as pollens, molds, dust, animal dander, and certain foods. "Dermatitis" means that the skin is inflamed, or red and sore.
Why Does It Occur?
Doctors do not know as to what exactly causes eczema. However, we do know that eczema occurs most frequently in children with a family history of allergies. For many parents, the diagnosis is not initially disturbing. There is often a sense that surely this will pass quickly once the doctor gives medication to cure it. Unfortunately, there is no cure for eczema. Medications are given to deal with the symptoms – not to cure the condition. Some children will outgrow their eczema while still toddlers; others will outgrow it later and some few will continue to deal with the condition into adulthood. Therefore, parents need to recognize that a diagnosis of eczema means a diligent maintenance regimen will become a part of their daily lives.
Signs and Symptoms
Signs and symptoms of eczema can vary widely during the early phases. Between 2 and 6 months of age (and usually before the age of 5 years), kids with eczema usually develop itchy, dry, red skin and small bumps on their cheeks, forehead, or scalp. The rash may spread to the extremities (the arms and legs), and red, crusted, or open lesions may appear on any area affected.
A child in eczema flare-up should be bathed daily in lukewarm water (85 degrees). Do not bathe your child in hot water. Hot water causes skin to release histamines that make the skin red and itchy. The bath does not need to be very long. Children with a severe rash may find the water stings or burns. If so, a half a cup of table salt may be added to a full tub of water. Avoid using soap if possible and do not scrub skin with washcloth. If soap is needed, use mild, moisturizing, unscented soap. Then, immediately after taking the child from the bath, pat gently with a towel but leave the skin damp. Within three minutes, apply the moisturizer heavily. For serious rash, moisturizing with petroleum jelly is best. For moderate rash, a thick cream, such as Eucerine, will be sufficient. For skin without visible rash, you can use a good quality moisturizing liquid. Avoid products that contain fragrance. Apply anti-inflammatory prescription medication only to areas in active flare-up. (The doctor should give detailed instructions on when and how often to apply the anti-inflammatory). When itching breaks skin, application of antibiotic ointment is a necessary precaution against infection. If infection occurs, oral antibiotic may be necessary but should be given only on doctor's advice.