rubbing lotion on baby
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Fend Off Dry Skin

You can keep eczema flares under control by managing the things that set flares off. Dry skin is a major eczema trigger. Moisturize your child’s skin often. Ointments like petroleum jelly may trap moisture better than lotions. Baths can dry out skin, so use warm water, not hot. Then put a good moisturizer on while your child’s skin is still damp.

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boy in bath
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Will It Go Away?

Your child may not have eczema forever. For many kids, the itchy patches start to go away at about school age. Others may have eczema into their teens and as adults, though. Sometimes, eczema seems to have vanished only to reappear during puberty. Changes in hormones may be to blame.

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boy scratching
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Stop the Itch

Scratching can make eczema worse and cause patches of skin to get thick. Avoid itchy fabrics like wool. Keep her nails trimmed short. If she tends to scratch in her sleep, give her light, comfortable gloves to wear to bed. A wet, cool washcloth on irritated spots can ease the urge to scratch.

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comfortable toddler
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Help Kids Keep Their Cool

Sweating can cause eczema to itch, too. Stick with light, breathable fabrics like cotton. Try light layers so it’s easy for her to stay comfortable when temperatures change. Keep your house cool, especially her bedroom. Use lightweight sheets and bedspreads, too.

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cat licking paw
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Allergy Attack

Allergies and eczema often go hand in hand. Ask your doctor if your child should be tested for food or other allergies. Avoid triggers like pets, especially in your child’s bedroom. Wash sheets often in hot water, and use dust mite covers on mattresses and pillows. Go without carpet and drapes, if possible. They trap allergens.

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boy with eyes closed
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De-Stress

Stress can cause itching and redness for kids with eczema. Help your child identify stressful situations, like a big test at school or public performance. Then talk about ways she can manage that stress. Some ideas: Take a few deep breaths, meditate, think of something else as a distraction, or take a break.

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tube of ointment
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What the Doctor May Order

Your doctor may prescribe a cream or ointment with a corticosteroid in it. These should only be used with a prescription because the dosage is specific to your child. Don’t use this for more than the prescribed amount of time. It can make the skin thin if it’s used for too long. Only put the ointment on areas of skin that have eczema.

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pills in blister packs
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Other Medical Options

If your child has allergies, antihistamines can sometimes help ease itching. If your child’s rash is severe or infected, your doctor may prescribe other medicine, too. But remember: Preventive care can go a long way to keep eczema from getting worse.

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rubbing lotion on baby
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Control Infection

Keep an eye out for signs of skin infection, like:

  • Fever
  • Redness
  • Warmth around the affected areas of skin
  • Bumps or blisters

Kids with eczema are more likely to get infected. If your child has a skin infection like herpes or a staph infection, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics for it.

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childrens sports team in huddle
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Eczema and Emotions

Children with eczema may face teasing and embarrassment. And they may struggle with self-esteem. A support group or even a camp for kids with eczema and other skin conditions can be a great way to help your child make friends who understand what she’s going through. The National Eczema Association has a patient conference and kids’ camp each summer.

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Sources | Medically Reviewed on 1/24/2017 Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on January 24, 2017

IMAGES PROVIDED BY:

(1)    Julia Smith / The Image Bank
(2)    Gustoimages / Science Source
(3)    Ian Boddy / Science Source
(4)    Tang Ming Tung / Flickr Collection / Getty
(5)    Laura Layera / Flickr Open / Getty
(6)    Jose Luis Pelaez Inc / Blend Images
(7)    Nichola Evans / The Image Bank
(8)    Hemera
(9)    Julia Smith / The Image Bank
(10)   Kali Nine LLC / iStock / 360

SOURCES:

National Eczema Association. Atopic Dermatitis in Children," Bathing and Moisturizing," "Topical Corticosteroids: Myths & Facts," "Patient Conference."

Nemours Foundation: "Eczema."

Jessie and Julie Rasch Foundation: "Childhood Eczema: Research Report."

Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on January 24, 2017

This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.