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Managing eczema in newborns and children

<p><span style="font-family: helvetica;"><img src="/nairobi/PublishingImages/Eczema%20in%20children%20body%20image.jpg" alt="" style="margin: 5px;"/></span> </p><p><span style="font-family: helvetica;">I</span><span style="font-family: helvetica;">s your baby having a dry, itchy, and inflamed skin, then they could be suffering from eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis. This is a chronic skin condition affecting up to 20% of children worldwide. The most common place where symptoms of eczema will affect your baby is on their face. Here is what you need to know about this condition.</span></p><p><strong style="font-family: helvetica;">How does eczema present in newborns and children?</strong></p><p><span style="font-family: helvetica;">Eczema can present in different ways, but common symptoms include; dry, itchy skin which is the most common symptom of eczema. The skin may also be red, cracked, and scaly. Eczema also presents as rashes that can appear anywhere on the body, but they are most common on the face, scalp, hands, and feet. In some cases, eczema can cause blisters on the skin. These blisters may break open and ooze fluid. Over time, eczema can cause the skin to thicken and become leathery.</span></p><p><strong style="font-family: helvetica;">What causes eczema in newborns and children?</strong></p><p><span style="font-family: helvetica;">The exact cause of eczema is unknown, but it is thought to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Children with eczema often have a family history of the condition. Other possible triggers for eczema can be dry skin, allergens, such as pollen, dust mites, and pet dander, irritants, such as harsh soaps, detergents, and perfumes, infections and stress.</span></p><p><strong style="font-family: helvetica;">Are there different kinds of eczema?</strong></p><p><span style="font-family: helvetica;">Yes, there are different kinds of eczema. The most common type is atopic dermatitis, but there are others like contact dermatitis which is a type of eczema caused by direct contact with an allergen or irritant. Dyshidrotic eczema which type of eczema causes small, itchy blisters on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. Nummular eczema causes round or oval-shaped patches of itchy skin and seborrheic dermatitis causes red, scaly patches of skin on the scalp, face, and upper body.</span></p><p><strong style="font-family: helvetica;">What parts of the body does eczema affect in children?</strong></p><p><span style="font-family: helvetica;">Eczema can affect any part of the body, but it is most common on the face, scalp, hands, and feet. In infants, eczema often appears on the cheeks, forehead, and scalp. In older children, eczema is more likely to appear on the insides of the elbows and backs of the knees.</span></p><p><strong style="font-family: helvetica;">Are the causes in adults different from those of children?</strong></p><p><span style="font-family: helvetica;">The causes of eczema are the same in adults and children. However, eczema can be more difficult to manage in adults, and it is more likely to be chronic.</span></p><p><strong style="font-family: helvetica;">Which doctor treats Eczemas?</strong></p><p><span style="font-family: helvetica;">Your baby&#39;s pediatrician can diagnose and treat eczema. If your baby has recurring or severe symptoms, their pediatrician might recommend visiting a dermatologist who is a skin care specialist.</span></p><p><strong style="font-family: helvetica;">How is childhood eczema managed?</strong></p><p><span style="font-family: helvetica;">There is no cure for eczema, but there are treatments that can help to manage the symptoms and prevent flare-ups. Treatment for childhood eczema may include:</span></p><p><span style="font-family: helvetica;">Moisturizers: Moisturizing the skin regularly is one of the most important things that parents can do to help their children with eczema. Moisturizers help to keep the skin hydrated and reduce itching.</span></p><p><span style="font-family: helvetica;">Medications: There are a variety of medications that can be used to treat eczema, including topical corticosteroids, oral antihistamines, and biologic medications. The type of medication that is prescribed will depend on the severity of the eczema and the child&#39;s individual needs.</span></p><p><span style="font-family: helvetica;">Lifestyle changes: There are a number of lifestyle changes that can help to reduce the risk of eczema flare-ups. These include avoiding triggers, bathing regularly in warm water, and using mild soaps and detergents.</span></p><p><strong style="font-family: helvetica;">How should parents care for their children at home to prevent them from suffering the problem?</strong></p><p><span style="font-family: helvetica;">There are a number of things that parents can do at home to help prevent eczema flare-ups in their children. These include; bathing regularly in warm water, using mild soaps and cleanser, avoiding triggers, such as allergens and irritants, moisturizing the skin regularly with the right moisturizer, keeping the fingernails short to prevent scratching, avoid scrubbing and rubbing of skin while bathing, wear pure cotton clothing, preferably long sleeves and long trousers.</span></p><p><strong style="font-family: helvetica;">Are there risk factors for eczema?</strong></p><p><span style="font-family: helvetica;">Yes, there are several risk factors for eczema. These include a family history of allergies, allergies, asthma, hay fever and living in a dry climate.</span></p><p><strong style="font-family: helvetica;">Does eczema recur after clearing?</strong></p><p><span style="font-family: helvetica;">Yes, eczema is a chronic condition, so it can recur even after it has cleared.
</span></p><p><span style="font-family: helvetica;"><em><strong>By Dr Meichi Quek, Paediatric Dermatologist at Aga Khan University Hospital, Nairobi</strong></em></span></p><p><span style="font-family: helvetica;"><em><strong></strong></em></span><em style="font-family: helvetica;">This article was first published in Business Daily in December 11, 2023</em></p>

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