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Atopic eczema in baby and toddler

  1. Atopic eczema is a skin condition that occurs in about 20 percent of babies and toddlers. After the third year of life, the complaints usually disappear by themselves. Until then, what can you do about it?

  1. Atopic eczema probably occurs because the body reacts allergic to certain external stimuli. These can be allergenic stimuli, such as house dust or dust mites, hair or dander from (pets) animals and pollen. But also non-allergenic stimuli, such as temperature or dry air, chemical stimuli (such as the use of soap), wearing clothes made of a certain material, physical exertion or emotional events. Which stimuli cause the eczema is different for every child. Unfortunately, it is often difficult to determine which stimuli they are. In a small number of especially young children, a food allergy is the main cause.

Diagnosing eczema

  1. Atopic eczema usually develops within the first 6 months after birth, but in principle the disease can start at any age. To determine whether the skin condition is atopic eczema, it is best to visit your doctor. The doctor will ask how long your child has been suffering from eczema, where and in what form it occurs, what stimuli there are in the environment (such as pets), the eating habits in the family and whether eczema occurs in the family. If necessary, he will refer you to the hospital for an allergy test.

Cream, ointment, medicines and wet dressings

  1. Atopic eczema can be treated locally or systematically. Local treatment consists of rubbing the skin with special eczema cream that is simply available at chemist, pharmacy and online. If that does not help, the doctor can prescribe a prescription corticosteroid ointment (hormone ointment). This ointment reduces inflammation as well as itching and is very effective against eczema. However, the skin thins with prolonged use. So-called calcineurin inhibitors have recently become available for patients aged 2 years and older. Tacrolimus ointment and pimecrolimus cream contain substances that inhibit the inflammatory response without thinning the skin. The last three options are tar ointment (anti-inflammatory), wet dressings (cooling and anti-itch) and antibiotic cream (against bacteria). Systematic treatment consists of taking antihistamines. If a particular nutrient is found to make the eczema worse, the doctor may prescribe a diet.

What can you do yourself?

  1. Avoid as much contact as possible with the stimuli that your child is sensitive to. Keep the house dust-free and dry. Consider, for example, removing furry stuffed animals from the nursery. Avoid contact with pets. Research shows that children who are breastfed for 6 months or more develop eczema less often and less severely Make sure your child does not wear irritating clothing directly on the skin and avoid wool. This can make eczema worse. Choose cotton and natural silk undergarments. Prevent your child's skin from drying out too much and wash your child with soap as little as possible. Bathing in diluted bleach can help with severe eczema. Go outside with your child every day. Sunlight has a positive effect on eczema. Keep the skin well oily by using a special cream for dry and sensitive skin.

  2. Avoid as much as possible contact with the stimuli to which your child is sensitive. Keep the house dust-free and dry. Consider, for example, removing furry stuffed animals from the nursery. Avoid contact with pets. Research shows that children who are breast-fed for 6 months or more develop eczema less often and less severely Make sure your child does not wear irritating clothing directly on the skin and avoid wool. This can make eczema worse. Choose cotton and natural silk undergarments. Prevent your child's skin from drying out too much and wash your child with soap as little as possible. Bathing in dilute bleach can help with severe eczema. Go outside with your child every day. Sunlight has a positive effect on eczema. Keep the skin well oily by using a special cream for dry and sensitive skin.



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