Eczema affects up to 20 percent of U.S. children. Child eczema usually appears between two and six months of age and runs in families with a history of allergies and asthma. The dry, red, itchy skin patches often begin on the face and spread to other parts of the body.
There is no cure for eczema, but there are many ways to treat child eczema at home.
Dust mites may trigger eczema or make existing eczema worse. Place protective covers on your child’s bed to block dust mite allergen, and wash all bedding in hot water once a week. Vacuum frequently with a HEPA vacuum to eliminate dust and other household allergens. Don’t forget to vacuum furniture; dust mites like couches, too.
Certain foods like milk, soy, eggs, or peanut butter may trigger eczema. Keep an eye on your child’s eating habits; you may even want to keep a journal.
Certain fibers like wool or polyester can irritate the skin further.
Harsh soaps and chemicals can irritate the skin. Avoid treated fabrics whenever possible.
Stress can make eczema worse. Teach your child how to calm down with deep breathing exercises.
Humidify, Hydrate, and Moisturize
Dry air often makes eczema worse, especially during the winter. Humidifiers restore moisture to the air. We recommend placing a humidifier in your child’s bedroom.
Hydrate the skin with daily 10-minute baths. Note that hot water can dry out the skin even more; use lukewarm water.
Apply moisturizers liberally immediately after the bath.
Eat Healthy Foods
Some foods may help clear up eczema. According to ehow.com, daily intake hot salsa, oolong tea, or vitamin E may help. A low-carb diet – low in sugars, flour, potatoes, and rice – can also decrease flare-ups.
You can get many hydrocortisone creams over-the-counter; these primarily help decrease the itching. For severe flare-ups, see your pediatrician for a prescription steroid cream.
Most cases of eczema will improve as your child gets older, but keep in mind that children who have eczema are more likely to develop allergies later in life.