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Eczema (Infants)

Medically Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on October 16, 2019

Call 911 if your baby:

  • 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

Sources

SOURCES:

FamilyDoctor.org: "Eczema: Tips on How to Care for Your Skin."

HealthyChildren.org: "Eczema."

National Eczema Association: "Atopic Dermatitis in Children."

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