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First Aid & Emergencies

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Eczema (Infants)

Call 911 if your baby:

  • Suddenly develops a rash along with symptoms such as difficulty breathing

  • Suddenly develops a rash along with symptoms such as difficulty breathing

1 out of 10 infants and children have eczema, a dry itchy rash that comes and goes. It's not a dangerous condition, but it can be itchy and uncomfortable for baby and frustrating for parents.

Call Doctor If:

  • Your baby develops a new rash.
  • The rash looks infected, appears redder, or has a yellow crust or ooze.
  • Home eczema treatments aren't helping.
  • Your baby has a fever associated with the rash.

1. Bathe Your Child

  • Use lukewarm water. Hot water can make eczema worse.
  • Limit your use of soap and discuss with your doctor the type of soap you should use.
  • Rinse your child's skin twice to remove soap residue.
  • Keep baths short since prolonged contact with water can be irritating.

2. Moisturize

  • Put a gentle moisturizer on your baby's skin as soon as your child is out of the bath. Reapply it several times a day or with every diaper change.
  • Do not use any medications or medicated creams unless a doctor recommends it.
  • Hypoallergenic fragrance-free moisturizers are best.

3. Dress Your Child in Comfortable Clothing

  • Light, breathable cotton fabrics may be most comfortable. Wash clothes before wearing.
  • Avoid heavy, tight, or scratchy material such as wool, nylon, or synthetic fibers.

4. Prevent Irritation

  • Try to keep your child from scratching. Keep your child's fingernails short and clean.
  • Avoid any substance you know will trigger an allergy.
  • Avoid irritants such as perfumed soaps and detergents.
  • Use cold compresses to relieve the itch.
  • Don't let your baby get too hot or sweaty. Either one can make eczema worse.
  • Never give a baby an antihistamine without talking to a pediatrician first.
  • Ask your pediatrician about medications to relieve itching and whether food or environmental allergens could be triggering the eczema.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on September 15, 2015

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