Apart from the obvious
symptoms of red, itchy skin, eczema can interfere with your little one’s sleep
and could lead to teasing and bullying at school. It can furthermore affect
concentration and lead to chronic skin infections.
There’s a strong genetic
link, but experts believe pollution, toxins and allergies could also trigger
the condition. Although eczema affects all ages, it usually appears in early
childhood and disappears when a child reaches the age of six. In
fact, "more than half of all eczema sufferers show signs within
their first 12 months of life and 20% develop eczema before the age of five”.
Avoid things that irritate the skin
Your might have a treatment
regime for your child, prescribed by a doctor. But what can you as a parent do
to help him avoid things that irritate the skin?
your child bath in lukewarm water for 10 minutes once a day.
use bubble bath, and use aqueous or an oil-based cream instead of soap (note
that some children don’t respond well to aqueous cream). If it foams, your
child should avoid it because the product breaks down the normal layer of oil
on the skin. Pat your child dry with a towel, but don’t rub.
the skin with fragrance – and colour-free creams that are rich in oil and have a
vitamin E base. Do this at least twice a day and always immediately after
dressing your child in woollen clothing and steer clear of bed linen that’s too
warm – the warmer the skin, the more it itches. Wool and nylon are more likely
to irritate the skin.
your child’s nails short so they can’t break the skin when scratching. A cold
compress – ice in a watertight plastic bag, knotted and wrapped in a towel –
can help relieve the itching.
smoking if you do. Adults should never smoke near or in the same house as
children with eczema.
the child plays sport regularly, make sure they wear comfortable, cool, loose
cotton clothes. They’ll sweat less and it will minimise friction. Apply
moisturiser just before exercise, and get them to take a bath as soon as possible
afterwards. Moisturiser should be applied again.
your child’s lifestyle as normal as possible in order to avoid stress. They can
swim, but use moisturiser beforehand and rinse and moisturise them again
afterwards. Salt-water pools are preferable to chlorine pools.
use biodegradable washing powders or fabric softeners because they contain
enzymes that can aggravate eczema. After washing your child’s clothes, rinse
them in vinegar water. Washing your child’s clothes with special soap powder is
pointless if you’re going to hug him when you’re wearing clothes that have been
washed in ordinary soap powder, so wash the whole family’s clothes with
non-biological washing powder.
rid of the dust mites in soft toys or baby linen by placing them in your deep
freeze for three days every three months. Wash these items regularly in water
heated to at least 60 degrees Celsius. Place a special protective cover over
your child’s mattress to keep dust mites at bay and regularly put the mattress
in the sun. Use a powerful vacuum cleaner. Those that use water are often
recommended for dust mites.
- (Health24, September
Picture: Eczema from Shutterstock