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Managing Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis)

Can you believe it’s already Fall? Who’s ready for cooler weather? *insert raised hand emoji here* Though the fall and winter months in Phoenix make being outside far more enjoyable, the cooler weather can often cause more frequent outbreaks of dry skin and eczema. Eczema (also called atopic dermatitis) is a severe form of dry skin, usually characterized by an itchy, dry, and bumpy rash that covers the arms, chest, back, face, or the inside of the elbows and knees. Infants who are diagnosed with eczema often have a hard time controlling the need to scratch at the itchy patches of skin, which makes the condition worse and takes longer to heal. To better manage eczema in infants and young kids, follow these tips from the AllKids pediatric urgent care providers.

Moisturize Regularly

Healthy skin naturally retains moisture and acts as a barrier to keep bacteria and other impurities out of the body. Children with atopic dermatitis are not able to naturally keep the skin moisturized, and can suffer from itchy discomfort all over their bodies as well as a low-functioning immune system, as a result of their skin condition. Eczema is most common in children under age five, but the symptoms may carry over into adolescence and adulthood. To help treat this skin condition, it’s important to apply unscented lotion or moisturizer to the affected area at least twice daily, or as needed. Keeping the skin moist and healthy allows skin cells to regenerate faster and heal damaged areas more quickly.

Use Gentle Products

Baby soft skin is often very sensitive to the harsh chemicals used in drugstore soaps, detergents, and shampoos. To prevent and manage eczema outbreaks, choose soaps, deodorants, shampoos, and laundry detergents specifically designed for sensitive skin and infants. It is important to use these products for your baby AND you, because if the chemicals are on your skin and clothes, they can transfer to your baby’s skin and lead to irritation as well.

Over-the-Counter Medications

Most stores sell ointments and oral medications to reduce itchiness and soothe irritated skin. Steroid creams like hydrocortisone and oral antihistamines can instantly soothe the itchiness and help the skin heal.

Long Sleeved Sleepwear

Nighttime is the best time for the body to work its cellular magic. While we sleep, our bodies work hard to regenerate and heal areas that need attention, including eczema patches. Dressing your baby in pajamas with long sleeves will keep your child from scratching at their bumpy skin while they’re asleep. Rubbing, scratching, or further irritating the dry, dead skin cells will only exacerbate the itch and take longer to heal.

Check For Food Allergies

Some cases of eczema are actually caused by food allergies. It can be difficult to identify which foods your child is allergic to at a young age, but food allergy testing may be beneficial to rule out likely causes for their uncomfortable skin condition.

If your child has severe dry skin or eczema that won’t go away, it is always best to discuss the situation with the child’s pediatrician to ensure proper diagnosis and treatment.

AllKids Urgent Care is the leading Arizona pediatric urgent care East Valley families trust. Services include x-rays, sports physicals, burn and wound care, illness diagnosis and treatment. Our Mesa and Gilbert locations are open from 12 – 10 pm, every day including holidays. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for more information on kids health and activities the whole family can enjoy. All Kids Deserve the Best.

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