Eczema is a common skin condition, and it often starts in childhood. It happens when there’s a dysfunction in the skin’s outer layer, preventing it from working as it should. As a result, people with eczema experience persistent itching, redness, and discomfort.
As a parent, it's natural to feel concerned and want to find ways to help your child cope with this often frustrating condition. At Rheumatology and Allergy Institute of Connecticut, our allergy and immunology specialist Dr. Barbara Kage understands the challenges that eczema presents to both children and their families.
The good news is that there are things you can do to help your child live well with eczema, promoting a happier and more comfortable daily life. Here are our top tips.
Establish a consistent skin care routine
One of the most important aspects of managing eczema is maintaining a consistent skin care routine. Bathe your child in lukewarm water using a gentle, fragrance-free cleanser. Avoid hot water and harsh soaps, as they can further irritate the skin.
After bathing, gently pat your child's skin dry — don’t rub — and apply a generous layer of fragrance-free, hypoallergenic moisturizer within three minutes. This helps lock in moisture and creates a barrier against irritants.
Identify and avoid triggers
A variety of factors can trigger eczema flare-ups; these include allergens, irritants, and environmental conditions. Work closely with a specialist to identify and avoid triggers whenever possible.
Common allergens include dust mites, pollen, and pet dander. Irritants can come from certain soaps, detergents, and fabrics. Additionally, pay attention to your child's stress levels, as stress can exacerbate eczema symptoms.
Dress your child in soft, breathable fabrics
The clothes your child wears can have a significant impact on their comfort level when living with eczema. Opt for soft, breathable fabrics like cotton, and avoid synthetic materials and wool, which can be irritating to the skin.
Dress your child in loose-fitting clothes that don't rub or chafe. Keep their nails trimmed short to minimize damage from scratching.
Encourage healthy alternatives to scratching
Scratching can provide temporary relief from the itch, but it can also damage the skin, leading to infections and worsening symptoms. Incorporate strategies to teach your child healthy alternatives to scratching, such as applying a cold compress, using a skin-soothing cream, or engaging in distraction techniques like deep breathing or squeezing a stress ball.
Make it a family affair
Living well with eczema is a team effort, and it's essential to involve the entire family in creating a supportive environment for your child. Educate siblings and other family members about eczema, its causes, and its effects. This promotes empathy and reduces the chances of teasing or misunderstandings.
Creating a shared responsibility, such as assisting with skin care routines or keeping the home free of allergens, fosters a sense of teamwork. A healthy lifestyle can benefit the whole family, and working closely with a specialist like Dr. Kage ensures personalized guidance for managing eczema as a family unit.
Seek professional help when needed
If your child's eczema doesn’t improve with at-home care, it may be time to consult a specialist. Dr. Kage can conduct a thorough evaluation and create an individualized treatment plan to best manage your child’s eczema.
Eczema doesn’t have to define your child's life. Implementing these expert tips can transform your family's approach to managing this skin condition, empowering your little one.
For compassionate, effective pediatric eczema management, call 860-288-1015 to schedule a visit at Rheumatology and Allergy Institute of Connecticut today.