What can I do to stop my child itching their eczema skin?
- by Petra Jelinkova
Eczema is a chronic skin condition and itching is often the main symptom. Generally, children develop symptoms at a very young age, usually at around three months. Although many children will grow out of their eczema, some will experience eczema symptoms, including itching, right into adulthood. While there is no cure for eczema, it can be managed using a combination of oatmeal bath soaks and eczema moisturiser. Understanding eczema and what we can do to relieve the itch will lead to better eczema management and less flare ups and infection.
What causes eczema?
Researchers believe a combination of genetics and environmental factors play a role. Those with eczema have a sensitive immune system so when triggered by an allergen, the system attacks it, leading to itchy and painful skin. The skin also lets moisture escape easily, which also makes it dry and itchy and allows irritants to get into the skin, causing inflammation.
What are the symptoms of eczema?
The first sign of eczema is usually red, inflamed skin, and the first symptom of eczema is usually intense itchy skin. This leads to dry and bumpy skin, with red patches of different sizes, generally on the face, neck, arms and legs, but these can occur anywhere on the body. Eczema locations can change with time, for example, when your children start to crawl, you may see more eczema appear on the lower legs
What to do when your child is itchy?
Night time can be one of the most difficult times to manage itching and too often we notice our children’s sheets with blood from where they have cut their skin itching. Dressing your child in 100% cotton pyjamas will let the skin breathe and not keep air trapped at the surface of the skin which increases heat and therefore the need to scratch. Using 100% cotton sheets, and blankets and ditching the doona and quilts also reduces heat around the body.
Hot skin is itchy skin and using cool compresses can help by taking the heat out of the skin. Run a washer under cool water and squeeze it until it’s only damp not dripping wet. Place this on your child’s itchy skin for a few minutes and then repeat. Feel the washer after you take it off, it will be very warm! Also doing the same with one of your child’s singlets and then dressing them in it will bring down their core temperature, this can also help to lower the temperature of the skin and make it less itchy.
One of the most important ways to manage itching is to maintain your child’s regular skin care routine.
A healthy skin barrier is so important in managing eczema and controlling the eczema itch. Make sure you keep up with your child’s skin care routine to put the most amount of moisture into the skin and stop triggers getting in as well as moisture escaping.
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.