Eight Essential Facts About Eczema Every Parent Should Know | Itchy Baby Co Blog– Itchy Baby Co.

Eight facts about eczema all parents should know

  • by Lauran Morphett
Eight facts about eczema all parents should know

Eight Essential Facts About Eczema Every Parent Should Know

What is eczema?

Eczema is a common skin condition that affects many children. Red, itchy, and inflamed patches of skin characterise it. Eczema occurs when the skin's barrier function is compromised, increasing sensitivity and dryness. The exact cause of eczema is unknown, but factors such as genetics, environmental triggers, and allergies can contribute to its development. It can be distressing for you and your child, as the itching can be intense and disrupt sleep. While eczema has no cure, there are ways to manage and alleviate symptoms. Proper skincare, avoiding triggers, using gentle and moisturising products, and working closely with a healthcare professional can help provide relief and improve your child's quality of life.

How common is it?

In Australia, eczema is indeed a prevalent condition among children. According to the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA), approximately one in five children under the age of two are affected by eczema (1). Furthermore, it is estimated that over 6 million Australians have experienced eczema at some point in their lives, with most cases occurring before the age of five.

What causes it?

Eczema is believed to arise from a combination of genetic and environmental factors. If a child has a family history of eczema, asthma, or allergies, they may be more susceptible to developing eczema. This suggests a genetic predisposition. Additionally, certain environmental triggers can worsen or provoke eczema symptoms.

The skin barrier function plays a crucial role in eczema. In individuals with eczema, this barrier is compromised, making the skin more susceptible to irritants, allergens, and moisture loss. This leads to dryness, inflammation, and itching.

Environmental factors such as exposure to harsh chemicals, soaps, detergents, fragrances, and certain fabrics can trigger or exacerbate eczema symptoms. Allergens like dust mites, pollen, pet dander, and certain foods can also play a role in triggering flare-ups.

Moreover, immune system dysregulation is thought to contribute to eczema. The immune system may overreact to certain triggers, leading to inflammation and skin irritation.

Understanding these potential causes can help you identify and manage triggers, protect your child's skin, and work with healthcare professionals to develop an appropriate treatment plan tailored to your child's specific needs. It's important to remember that each child's eczema can be unique, and what works for one may not work for another.

Is there a cure for eczema?

While there is currently no known cure for eczema, it is important to understand that eczema can be effectively managed and controlled. The goal is to achieve long-term remission and minimise flare-ups. This can be achieved through:

Proper Skincare

Establishing a gentle skincare routine is crucial. Use mild, fragrance-free cleansers and moisturisers that are specifically formulated for sensitive skin. Moisturise your child's skin regularly, especially after bathing, to lock in moisture and strengthen the skin barrier.

Trigger Identification and Avoidance

Identify and avoid potential triggers that can worsen your child's eczema symptoms. These triggers can vary from person to person and may include certain foods, allergens, harsh chemicals, extreme temperatures, and irritants.

Medications

In some cases, doctors may prescribe topical corticosteroids or other anti-inflammatory creams to reduce redness and itching during flare-ups.

Lifestyle Modifications

Encouraging a healthy lifestyle that includes a balanced diet, regular exercise, stress management techniques, and adequate sleep can contribute to overall well-being and potentially help manage eczema symptoms.

What is the emotional impact?

The emotional impact on both the child and the family can be huge and often does not get a mention in the day to day management of your child’s eczema.

A UK study (2) which looked at the impact eczema has on families found:

  • 72 percent of respondents said their children with eczema had troubled sleep, and 35 per cent said this affected their behaviour at school.
  • 67 percent of parents suffered disturbed sleep as a result of their children’s eczema, and 32 percent have had to take time off work to deal with the condition.
  • Nearly half of the 800 respondents said the stress and trauma of eczema has caused friction and arguments with their partner.

What skincare routine is recommended for children with eczema?

For individuals with eczema, establishing a gentle and consistent skincare routine is crucial in managing and maintaining healthy skin. Here's a recommended skincare routine:

Bathing

Use lukewarm water for baths or showers, as hot water can dry out the skin.

Limit bathing time to around 10 minutes to prevent excessive drying. We recommend adding the Natural Oatmeal Bath Soak to help soothe inflammation and calm itching.

Use mild, fragrance-free cleansers specifically formulated for sensitive skin. We recommend the Natural Shampoo & Body Wash.

Gently pat the skin dry with a soft towel, avoiding rubbing.

Moisturising

Apply the Itchy Baby Co. Eczema Moisturiser (specifically formulated for eczema-prone skin) immediately after bathing while the skin is still damp. This helps lock in moisture.

Apply moisturiser multiple times throughout the day, especially after washing hands or when the skin feels dry.

Avoiding Irritants

Use gentle, fragrance-free laundry detergents and avoid fabric softeners.

Wear soft, breathable fabrics such as cotton, and avoid rough or scratchy materials.

Can certain foods cause eczema? 

Although certain foods can trigger a flare up, foods are not the cause. This means that if a certain food triggers your child’s eczema, removing that food from their diet might mean their eczema is better controlled, but won’t mean that they no longer have it.

What other health conditions are more likely if my child has eczema?

Children with eczema may have a higher likelihood of developing or experiencing certain health conditions. While not all children with eczema will develop these conditions, the following are some conditions that have been associated with eczema:

  1. Asthma
  2. Allergies: Such as food allergies or allergic rhinitis (hay fever).
  3. Skin Infections

This blog post was brought to you and your child with love from Julia and the Itchy Baby Co. team. X

Disclaimer: Information provided is of a general nature only, and you should always consult your medical professional.

(1) https://www.allergy.org.au/patients/skin-allergy/eczema?highlight=WyJlY3plbWEiXQ==(2) https://www.karger.com/Article/FullText/370226

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