by Tia

Affinity Health, a leading provider of high-quality health coverage, provides tips for managing eczema in babies. 

Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, is a common skin condition in babies.  

“Numerous medical research has been conducted on eczema in babies. For instance, the American Academy of Dermatology suggest that most infants show signs of eczema from as early as two to three months of age,” says Murray Hewlett, CEO of Affinity Health.

“Research further states that these symptoms can manifest as dry, scaly patches on the skin, especially on the face, scalp, hands, and joints (elbows and knees).” He adds.

Understanding Eczema in Babies

Eczema in babies may last through childhood, adolescence and into adulthood. It is thought to be caused by genetic and environmental factors, including a compromised skin barrier, immune system malfunction, and exposure to irritants and allergens. In certain circumstances, it is hereditary. 

Signs and Symptoms

Eczema symptoms in babies typically include red, dry, and scaly patches of skin, intense itching, and sometimes oozing or crusting lesions. Babies with eczema may also experience periods of flare-ups, during which symptoms worsen, followed by periods of remission.

Common Triggers for Eczema Flare-Ups

Identifying and avoiding triggers is essential for controlling eczema flare-ups in babies. While triggers can vary from one child to another, some common factors that may exacerbate eczema symptoms include:

  • Irritants: Exposure to harsh soaps, strong detergents, scents, and other chemicals may irritate the skin and cause eczema flare-ups. 
  • Allergens: Certain allergens, such as dust mites, pet dander, pollen, and certain foods, may worsen eczema symptoms in susceptible babies.
  • Dry Skin: Dry air, especially in winter, can lead to dry skin and exacerbate eczema symptoms.
  • Heat and Sweat: Overheating and excessive sweating can aggravate eczema, particularly in friction and moisture buildup areas.
  • Stress: Emotional stress and anxiety can trigger or worsen eczema flare-ups in some babies.

Tips for Managing Eczema Flare-Ups

Here are some practical tips for managing eczema in babies:

Gentle Bathing Routine: Bathe your baby in lukewarm water using a mild, fragrance-free cleanser formulated for sensitive skin. Avoid hot water, harsh soaps, and scrubbing the skin vigorously, as these can further irritate eczema-prone skin.

Moisturise Regularly: After bathing your baby, gently pat their skin dry with a soft towel before applying a hypoallergenic moisturiser or emollient lotion to seal moisture and prevent dryness. Moisturise skin several times a day, especially after bathing and before bedtime. 

Dress in Soft Fabrics: Dress your baby in lightweight clothing. Soft, breathable fabrics, especially organic cotton, are often recommended for babies with eczema as they allow the skin to breathe and reduce irritation. Wash new clothes before your baby wears them to remove manufacturing chemicals that could irritate the skin. Avoid rough or scratchy fabrics, like wool, and synthetic materials that can irritate sensitive skin. 

Keep Nails Trimmed: Keep your baby’s nails short to prevent scratching, which can exacerbate eczema symptoms and increase the risk of skin infections. Consider using cotton mittens or socks on their hands to prevent scratching at night.

Identify and Avoid Triggers: Pay attention to potential triggers for your baby’s eczema flare-ups, such as certain foods, allergens, or environmental factors, and avoid or minimise exposure.

Use Cool Compresses: To soothe itching and inflammation, apply cool, wet compresses or a clean, damp cloth to the affected areas of your baby’s skin. Don’t use hot water bottles or ice packs, as these can further irritate the skin. 

Seek Medical Advice: If your baby’s eczema symptoms are severe, persistent, or not improving with home care measures, consult your paediatrician or a dermatologist for further evaluation and treatment. They may recommend prescription medications, such as topical corticosteroids or calcineurin inhibitors, to help manage their eczema.

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