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Bleach Baths May Help Kids With Eczema

Study shows baths with diluted bleach help treat the itchy, painful skin condition

Bleach Baths for Eczema continued...

The results were so dramatic that researchers stopped the three-month study early so that all the children could benefit from the bleach baths, Paller says.

Children who were randomly assigned to the bleach-bath group of the study also dabbed a topical antibiotic up their nose (where staph bacteria are often harbored). But Paller says she has many patients who don't use this intervention and still improve with bleach baths.

The study appears in the May issue of the journal Pediatrics.

"This is not going to be a cure for everybody, but there is certainly a subset of patients who will benefit tremendously," Paller says.

Bleach for Community-Acquired MRSA?

Dermatologist Cheryl Lee Eberting, MD, who practices in Alpine, Utah, is a big believer in bleach baths.

She recommends them for her patients with eczema, and she says they may have a wider application for addressing a rapidly emerging public health threat -- community-acquired MRSA.

While most MRSA infections still occur in hospital settings, community acquired infections of drug-resistant staph are on the rise. Staph bacteria that are most widely publicized as a cause of breakouts have been traced to gyms and locker rooms.

"If you play a contact sport or work out at the health club a lot, it probably wouldn't hurt to take an occasional bleach bath," Eberting says. Talk to your doctor before doing so.

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