Kids, Allergies, and Eczema
Eczema is not always caused by an allergy, but the two often go together. About 10% of babies and young kids have eczema. Here's what you need to know about allergies and eczema in your kids, along with advice on how to treat them.
- Eczema symptoms include a dry, itchy, scaly, red rash. It may ooze and crust over, especially if your child scratches it.
- Eczema is common on the arms, elbows, legs, knees, hands, and face.
- The rash can be quite irritating. It can make it hard for kids to sleep.
- Soaps and cosmetics, cleaners, wool, dust mites, pollen, pet dander, and dry weather can cause flare-ups.
- Eczema won't spread from one part of the body to another, or from one person to another.
- Eczema in kids often fades. Most babies with eczema outgrow it by the time they're teens, and usually earlier.
Eczema and Allergies
- Kids with allergies -- especially to foods like milk and peanuts -- are more likely to have eczema.
- Having parents with allergies or asthma increases a child's risk of eczema.
- Kids with eczema have a higher risk of allergies and asthma later in life.
- Avoiding allergic triggers can relieve symptoms of eczema in some children.
Treating Eczema and Allergies
If your child has symptoms, see a doctor. The good news is that there are lots of ways to control eczema and allergies.
Testing. Your doctor may want to test your child for allergies to foods -- like milk, egg, peanut, soy, and wheat -- and other substances.
Food elimination diets. If your doctor suggests it, cutting out common trigger foods, one at a time, could help you figure out if a food is the culprit.
Ointments and moisturizers. For mild eczema, using thick ointments and moisturizers can ease symptoms. Put them on right after your child gets out of a bath or shower.
Medication. Antihistamines and steroid creams may help relieve more severe symptoms.
Avoiding triggers and reducing irritation are also important for controlling eczema.
Allergy-proof your home, so your child won't be exposed to high levels of things like dust mites and dander.
Keep the skin moist. Dry skin can trigger eczema.
Keep fingernails short. That way, your child is less likely to irritate her skin by scratching. Put socks on your baby's hands to stop scratching when she's asleep.
Keep your child cool in summer. Hot weather and sweat can make symptoms worse.
Use non-scented soaps. Avoid harsh cleaners. Chemicals can irritate the skin.
Dress your child in soft, loose-fitting, cotton clothing. Avoid wool and nylon.
Protect your child from dry, cold weather. Dress your child warmly when it's cold (but don't overheat). Use a humidifier in the winter when the air is dry.