About 1 in 5 babies can have Eczema. Eczema is a common skin condition. The affected skin is dry, red and itchy which can sometimes become cracked, weepy and then scab over. Most common form of eczema in children is Atopic Dermatitis. Eczema is not contagious.
What causes Eczema
- The exact cause of Eczema is unknown
- A family history of eczema, asthma or hay fever increases the chances of child suffering from eczema
- Some children with eczema also develop hay fever or asthma
What are the triggers for Eczema
- Dryness of the Skin
- Becoming overheated
- After contact with irritating chemicals like soaps or bubble baths, or irritating fabrics like woollen underlays or polyester garments
- After viral or bacterial infections
- After exposure to foods that your child is allergic or intolerant to
- Allergens such as pet dander, pollen or dust
Often there’s no obvious cause for a flare-up.
What does Eczema look like
The location and appearance of eczema changes as the kids grow.
- Infants (0-6 months): Eczema usually appears as a dry, red rash on the face, cheeks, chin, behind ears, forehead and scalp. Rash is very itchy and the skin at this stage also tends to look more red and “weepy.”It can also spread to other areas of the body, but not usually in the Nappy area, where moisture protects the skin. Just like other babies, they can develop irritant napkin dermatitis, if wet or soiled nappies are left on too long.
- Infants (6-12 months) and 1-2 years age : Eczema often appears on places that are easy to scratch or rub as they are crawling such as elbows and knees. When eczema becomes infected, it may form a yellow crust.
- Toddlers (2-5 years): Eczema in this age group eczema is often in the creases of the elbows and knees, or on their wrists, ankles and hands. It may also appear on the skin around mouth and the eyelids. Toddlers scratch vigorously and the eczema may look very raw and uncomfortable. The eczematous skin may start to look dry and scaly at this stage and become thick with deeper lines — this is called “lichenification.”
- Children more than 5 years age: Eczema usually appears in the folds of the elbows and/or knees. Other susceptible areas include eyelids, earlobes, neck and scalp. They can develop recurrent acute itchy blisters on the palms, fingers and sometimes on the feet. Many children develop small coin-like areas of eczema scattered over the body. These round patches of eczema are dry, red and itchy and may be mistaken for ringworm (a fungal infection).
- Mostly the eczema improves during school years and it may completely clear up by the teens, although the barrier function of the skin is never entirely normal.