Infant Eczema Disease And Disorder Of The Skin

Infant Eczema Disease And Disorder Of The Skin

Infant Eczema - Disease And Disorder Of the​ Skin
The word ‘eczema’ is​ derived from the​ Greek meaning to​ ‘boil over’,​ describing the​ bubbly and hot appearance of​ active eczema .​
The words eczema and dermatitis mean the​ same,​ referring to​ a​ particular type of​ skin inflammation,​ which has potentially multiple different causes .​
More specifically,​ atopic eczema refers to​ a​ very characteristic itchy skin rash,​ which typically starts in​ infancy or​ childhood .​
It tends to​ affect different parts of​ the​ skin at​ different stages of​ the​ person’s development,​ but at​ some point usually involves the​ skin creases (flexures) of​ the​ arms and legs .​
It is​ more common in​ those with a​ family history of​ atopic eczema,​ asthma or​ hay fever .​
Eczema is​ a​ complex disease and multiple factors contribute to​ its development .​
However,​ genetic factors play a​ big role and various environmental triggers (for example,​ the​ house dust mite,​ bacterial toxins,​ hard water,​ climatic factors,​ air-borne allergens and pollution) may aggravate it.

Eczema tends to​ follow a​ fluctuating course .​
You can expect the​ child’s eczema to​ flare at​ times when he/she is​ ‘stressed’,​ for example,​ by teething pain .​
It may flare when they are unwell with viral or​ bacterial infections and after having vaccinations .​
Anything that tends to​ dry the​ skin,​ eg .​
soaps,​ shampoo,​ bubble baths,​ detergents or​ chlorine will aggravate eczema .​
Contact with wool,​ synthetic clothing and animal hair will also aggravate it .​
In teenagers eczema may flare at​ exam times.

Atopic eczema usually starts on​ the​ scalp or​ cheeks in​ infants .​
It may even start as​ cradle cap .​
It later spreads to​ the​ limbs and body and in​ some children may be widespread for a​ time .​
At the​ crawling stage it​ is​ usually worst on​ the​ backs of​ the​ elbows and the​ fronts of​ the​ knees .​
When the​ child is​ a​ little older the​ eczema settles in​ its characteristic location at​ the​ skin creases of​ the​ arms and legs .​
In teenagers and adults it​ may be worst on​ the​ hands.

The first principle of​ eczema treatment is​ to​ avoid those things that make eczema worse .​
Irritants like soaps and bubble bath should be avoided and substituted with an​ oily or​ emollient alternative .​
Allergens like dog dander must be minimised and measures taken to​ reduce the​ house dust mite in​ the​ child’s environment .​
Clothing and bed covers should be 100% cotton if​ possible .​
Heat and perspiration may make the​ itch intolerable .​
Therefore the​ child’s environment should be kept cool .​
In particular,​ the​ bedroom should be well ventilated .​
Emollients are products that moisturise and soften the​ dry skin,​ which is​ the​ central problem in​ atopic eczema .​
This therapy is​ a​ crucial part of​ your treatment plan for your child .​
Emollients are safe and can be used frequently .​
There are many choices on​ the​ market at​ present .​
In general,​ when the​ skin is​ very dry an​ oil-based emollient,​ for example emulsifying ointment or​ paraffin gel,​ will be the​ most efficient .​
As the​ skin improves a​ cream like Silcock’s base may be used .​
Emollients should be considered in​ three situations .​
Firstly,​ they should be used as​ a​ moisturiser applied twice or​ three times daily all over .​
Care should be taken to​ apply emollients gently in​ the​ direction of​ the​ hair (to avoid irritating the​ hair follicles) .​
Secondly,​ they should be used instead of​ soap .​
Finally,​ emollients should be used in​ the​ bath,​ ideally on​ a​ daily basis .​
The aim of​ bathing is​ to​ both grease and cleanse the​ skin .​
An excellent emollient bath may be prepared by dissolving two spoonfuls (dessert spoonfuls for child,​ table spoonfuls for adult) of​ emulsifying ointment in​ very hot water,​ whisking it​ up and adding it​ to​ the​ bath water .​
There are also very effective,​ liquid bath additives available which may be more convenient to​ use .​
Some of​ these contain an​ antiseptic which will help reduce the​
numbers of​ bugs on​ the​ skin .​
Regular bathing with emollients is​ essential to​ help reduce secondary bacterial infection,​ – a​ common problem in​ atopic eczema.

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