Reviewed by Roy Benaroch on February 06, 2017


Hansa Bhargava, MD National Eczema Association.

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Video Transcript

DR. HANSA D. BHARGAVA: Eczema is an itchy skin rash that affects a lot of children. Let's talk about what we can do to help those kids and answer some of your questions.

INTERVIEWER 1: My son has an itchy spot on his leg, and I'm real concerned that it may be eczema. How will I know if it's eczema?

DR. HANSA D. BHARGAVA: Eczema is a common itchy skin rash that a lot of kids have, especially under the age of five. If it's on his knee or around his knee, it sure could be eczema. It usually is red, and it tends to itch a lot, especially at night.

INTERVIEWER 1: Sometimes it kind of goes away, and then other times it just seems to really act up. Is it something he's eating or environmental? DR. HANSA D. BHARGAVA: Any type of allergy-- whether it's food, whether it's dust mites, whether it's pollen-- can cause the body to react, and that can cause a flare-up of eczema. So it's a good idea to keep any kinds of allergies under control.

INTERVIEWER 2: Is it contagious? My son goes to daycare, and I don't want to have to worry about it spreading or getting other kids.

DR. HANSA D. BHARGAVA: Great question, it's actually not contagious, so definitely it's not something you transfer to another child. It's hereditary, so if there's a family history of eczema, kids tend to get it. And the good news is about 50% of them outgrow it. So there's hope for all those moms out there, including ourselves.

INTERVIEWER 1: Is there something I can do in order to prevent the flare-ups?

DR. HANSA D. BHARGAVA: The most important thing you can do to help treat eczema is really prevention, and then sometimes medications. So in terms of prevention, it's really, really important to avoid the triggers, but also to moisturize the skin. In terms of treatment, your doctor may recommend some medications, such as a steroid cream or an anti-itch cream. Kids tend to itch a lot at night, so an anti-itch medication can actually help a lot. But remember, always use the medication only as prescribed by your doctor, and definitely not longer than it's prescribed for.

INTERVIEWER 2: You said trigger. What are some other common triggers for the eczema?

DR. HANSA D. BHARGAVA: There are triggers that can make your child's eczema get worse, for example, types of clothing, cotton, even pajamas that sometimes are flame retardent. Tights can do it as well. Also, be aware that certain detergents can do it, as can fabric softeners. Lastly, cold, dry air can also trigger your child's eczema.

INTERVIEWER 1: Sometimes you see it growing or getting bigger. Is it something he's going to have to worry about for the rest of his life?

DR. HANSA D. BHARGAVA: Well, luckily most kids with eczema actually outgrow it. In fact, greater than 50% do. But in the meantime, if we can make your son's life easier, it's very helpful to prevent flare-ups.

INTERVIEWER 2: My son is very itchy, and he scratches it a lot. Can he open it up? Will it become worse?

DR. HANSA D. BHARGAVA: Well, we always worry that sometimes eczema can be infected. So if it's oozing, especially after scratching, or your child's uncomfortable, or you as a mom feel that your child's sick, definitely see your doctor. Because sometimes infections can happen, and sometimes, you know, it's important to get a doctor to take a look at it to make sure it's getting better.

Now that you've heard all these tips about eczema, make sure you incorporate it into your child's routine at home. This way we can help to ensure that your child gets as comfortable as he or she can be.