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Infant Eczema: Signs, Symptoms and Preventing Flare-ups

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concernedEczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a common skin condition in infants and is considered an allergy or sensitivity of the skin. Eczema seems to improve greatly in most infants by the time they are 2-3 years old. However, some may not outgrow their eczema until after they enter adulthood.

How do you know if your little one is suffering from this condition? Look for these signs and symptoms:
  • Itchy, red, irritated skin.
  • Rash may present as fluid-filled bumps that may ooze.
  • Rash may present as dry, scaly patches.
  • Rash may appear on cheeks, chin, head, trunk, arms and legs.
Help prevent flare-ups by avoiding triggers:
  • Food allergies (i.e. milk and milk products, soy, wheat, eggs or nuts) are a key factor in eczema.
  • Avoid perfumes, dyes, preservatives, and chemicals.
  • Avoid sudden temperature changes.
  • Provide a dust-free, pollen-free, mold-free environment.
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  • Dress in breathable cotton clothes. Avoid rough fabrics which can be irritating.
  • Wash all laundry in a mild, perfume-free laundry detergent. If eczema is severe, it may be helpful to put baby’s laundry through another plain water rinse cycle to remove any excess soap residue.
  • Changing the brand of diapers or switching to cloth diapers may be helpful.
  • Use perfume-free, chemical-free wipes or use a damp wash cloth instead.
  • Avoid long hot baths which tend to dry out skin and cause flare-ups. Bathe in lukewarm water. Use a cleanser sparingly and at the end of the bath so your baby is not sitting in the soap for a long period of time. 
  • Avoid using bath sponges or washcloths since these can be irritating to the skin. 
  • When using a cleanser, use a small amount of mild perfume-free moisturizing soap or a soap-free cleanser and be sure to rinse it off well. 
  • Add olive oil or baby oil (fragrance free, of course. I like Earth Mama Angel Baby's Baby Oil) to the bath water to keep the skin hydrated. After the bath, pat your baby dry gently (rubbing can cause skin irritation). 
  • Consider giving baby a bath every other day to minimize drying of the skin.
  • Use a fragrance-free moisturizer on your baby’s skin at least twice a day. Be sure to apply moisturizer after bath time when skin is still damp, to help retain moisture. Moisturizers that come in ointment form are the most protective because they contain mostly oil. Oils protect against moisture loss.
     
  • Use a humidifier to add moisture to the room.
  • Ask your pediatrician about medications that can help minimize eczema.
  • Notify your pediatrician if your baby’s eczema patches show signs of infection such as intense redness, swelling, warmth and crustiness or pus.

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