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Eczema or atopic dermatitis is a very common condition and 65% of patients develop symptoms during the first year of their life when they are babies. This means that 10% of all babies and young children will experience symptoms of this condition. Although the causes of eczema are not known, this condition appears to result from a combination of genetic and environmental factors and stress is known to make the condition worse.
Dryness of the skin is the main problem associated with eczema and this dryness is aggravated by hot, dry conditions or extreme cold or sudden changes in temperature. High humidity causes increased sweating and may result in prickly-heat type symptoms. Low humidity dries the skin, especially in the winter months when homes are heated and often over heated.
The first signs of eczema in a baby usually begin at 9 to 12 months although symptoms can appear as early as 3 to 4 months. The condition usually starts on the face, followed by the hands and feet. Older children are often affected in the elbow and knee creases, neck, wrists, ankles and feet. When eczema appears in the first year of a baby’s life, there is a 50% chance that it will have disappeared by the time he has reached the age of 5 and fewer than 5% will still have a problem with eczema once they have reached adulthood.
Eczema is very itchy, making the baby want to scratch which in turn causes further rawness of the skin and possibly allowing other infections to take a hold.
The area affected is red with a grainy appearance caused by tiny fluid–filled blisters under the skin. If these blisters burst, fluid can ooze out giving a weeping appearance which then dries to form a crust.
There are ways to help your baby if he has this condition:
• Use a natural eczema treatment - a healing product such as H-Eczema - made from essential oils which eliminates the itching while repairing the skin. Such a product is safe for use on children of all ages.
• Give your baby a warm bath every day so that his skin can soak for 15 to 20 minutes and absorb moisture. Aqueous cream should be used instead of soap while avoiding any scrubbing. The skin should be dried gently by patting with a towel. While his is still damp, apply emollient cream for added moisture.
• Use cotton mittens on your baby’s hands whenever he starts to scratch and when he is sleeping. Some eczematous rashes completely disappear without any treatment if you can just prevent scratching.
When the skin is healthy and unbroken, it presents the best defence against skin infections. Unfortunately when a baby has eczema, he becomes more prone to bacterial and viral infections.