Atopic dermatitis or eczema is a common skin condition in babies affecting up to 25 percent of children. An estimated 60 percent of people with eczema develop it during their first year of life. Dermatologists from the American Academy of Dermatology say most cases can be controlled with a customized skin care plan, which may include moisturizers, prescription medications and strategies to eliminate triggers.
Here’s a few tips to help manage your baby’s symptoms and decrease flare-ups.
- Eliminate Triggers
If you can identify your baby’s triggers, try to find ways to eliminate or avoid them. Everyday culprits can cause your baby’s eczema to suddenly appear or worsen. Common triggers include bodily triggers, such as sweat, saliva and scratching; environmental triggers, such as tobacco smoke, dry air, pet dander, or pollen; or product triggers, such as clothing, laundry detergent, fabric softeners, shampoos or soaps or baby powder or wipes.
- Bathing Technique
When bathing your baby, use lukewarm water, and only wash your baby’s dirty or smelly parts using a mild, fragrance-free cleanser. Avoid scrubbing your baby’s skin, and limit your baby’s bath to five to 10 minutes. Immediately after the bath, apply a fragrance-free moisturizer, keeping in mind that thick creams and ointments are generally more effective than lotions or oils. Bathing helps to eliminate dirt and other potential irritants from your baby’s skin. Moisturize your baby’s skin twice a day or as often as necessary to achieve relief.
- Topical Corticosteroids
Topical corticosteroids come in many forms, including ointments, creams, sprays and lotions. Work with your dermatologist to identify the best corticosteroid for your baby, and apply it immediately after your baby’s bath before applying moisturizer. Commonly used to treat eczema, these medications help reduce inflammation and symptoms, such as itching. Since babies are more sensitive to corticosteroids than adults, follow your dermatologist’s directions for the amount, duration and frequency of the treatment to avoid side effects.
- Bleach Bath Therapy
Diluted bleach baths can help ease your baby’s symptoms by reducing bacteria and inflammation on the skin. Bleach bath therapy is rarely used for babies, however, if your baby’s eczema is difficult to control, it may be recommended by your dermatologist. To ensure your baby’s safety and avoid irritating your baby’s already sensitive skin, follow your dermatologist’s instructions for bleach bath therapy carefully.
“Children with eczema have extremely sensitive skin, so a proper skin care routine can go a long way in easing your baby’s discomfort and reducing flare-ups,” says board-certified dermatologist Anna Yasmine Kirkorian, MD, FAAD. “It’s also important to begin treating your child’s eczema as soon as you notice it, which can prevent the condition from worsening, making it more difficult to treat “Children with eczema are more prone to skin infections, as eczema makes it easier for bacteria, viruses and other germs to get inside the body. If you notice an infection on your baby’s skin, such as pus-filled blisters, sores, or yellowish-orange crusts on the skin, or if you have questions about how to care for your baby’s eczema, make an appointment to see a board-certified dermatologist.”
Rare Pediatric Skin Conditions
Researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago were the first to conduct a large-scale analysis of treatments and outcomes for children with Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS) and toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN), rare skin conditions caused by medications and infections. Children who experience SJS, or its more severe form TEN, develop flu-like symptoms and a painful rash that spreads and blisters. Moderate or severe cases typically require treatment in an intensive care or burn unit. Their findings - which are published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice - show that in contrast to adults, death and recurrence are rare in children, but children who experience these skin conditions have high rates of complications resulting in long and costly hospital stays and that treatment strategies varied among health care providers.
Although SJS and TEN are rare, they are potentially devastating and deadly, and most pediatricians will encounter cases over the course of their career. To fill this gap, researchers performed a retrospective analysis of data from the Pediatric Health Information System to describe a cohort of hospitalized children diagnosed with SJS or TEN between 2008 and 2015.
They found overall mortality to be low with only 0.56 percent of children dying from SJS or TEN, compared with up to 23 percent of adults, as reported in other studies, but nearly one in four pediatric patients was admitted to an intensive care unit. The median length of stay was eight days and readmissions were common, with nearly one in five patients being admitted back to the hospital within six months. The study results also provide valuable information clinicians can use to guide treatment decisions. When treatments were compared, the researchers found that outcomes were similar across all interventions despite some, like antibody treatments, being significantly more costly.
The most common treatment was intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) in 25 percent of patients, followed by steroids in 18 percent, and a combination of both IVIG and steroids in 17 percent of children. "These are conditions that doctors fear because the disease can be extremely severe and there is a lack of research to guide treatment decisions," says study author Dr. James Antoon, assistant professor of pediatrics in the UIC College of Medicine. "We know that children with SJS and TEN can have life-long physical and psychiatric effects, but because cases are rare and unpredictable, rigorous studies to evaluate treatments have been difficult to design and implement. Our finding of low mortality differs from prior, smaller studies performed in the pediatric population.
This is helpful information for physicians counseling families. This means that when we talk with parents, we have evidence to help inform families on expectations and overall prognosis. There was an expected amount of inconsistency in the treatment of SJS and TEN; however, our analysis showed that no single agent or combination treatment was best at treating SJS and TEN. This is the first large-scale evidence to suggest we can potentially reduce the cost of care for families by selecting lower-cost treatments to achieve the same outcomes. Overall, these findings suggest we can be cautiously optimistic about SJS and TEN outcomes in a pediatric population, but that we need more research to dig deeper into strategies that reduce complications, hospital stays and even the cost of care."
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With over 30 years of writing and editing experience for newspapers, magazines and corporate communications, Kevin Kerfoot writes about natural health, nutrition, skincare and oral hygiene for Trusted Health Products’ natural health blog and newsletters.
Founder Ray Spotts has a passion for all things natural and has made a life study of nature as it relates to health and well-being. Ray became a forerunner bringing products to market that are extraordinarily effective and free from potentially harmful chemicals and additives. For this reason Ray formed Trusted Health Products, a company you can trust for clean, effective, and healthy products. Ray is an organic gardener, likes fishing, hiking, and teaching and mentoring people to start new businesses. You can get his book for free, “How To Succeed In Business Based On God’s Word,” at www.rayspotts.com.