Young babies and infants often break out in rashes that are inflamed and itchy. This is a classic case of infantile eczema also called as atopic dermatitis. Eczemas are allergic reactions in babies’ to the environment. While some are present at birth, most babies who experience it, get it somewhere between 2-6 months of age.
Most of the time, an allergic reaction sprouts up because of a change in the infant’s diet. Switching the child to formula milk or semi solids can typically bring on an attack of eczema. Babies who are exclusively breast fed are unlikely to experience it. Very few babies are allergic to their own mothers’ milk. Another possible reason could be the incidence of eczema and allergic reactions in the baby’s family. Families with strong histories of asthma or eczema are likely to pass it down to the next generation.
Symptoms Of Eczema
Eczema in babies is characterized by a prominent, scaly rash that starts on the cheeks and gradually moves down to the ears, neck, hands and feet. Small pustules are formed which fill with fluid. They eventually burst, form scabs and fall off. The rash can be severely itchy causing the infant to scratch which may further infect the affected area. Eczema requires prompt medical treatment to prevent further spreading and discomfort. Since it is an allergic reaction, it takes time to clear up completely. Babies are seen to suffer from bouts of eczema till they are 18 months of age. With time, the severity of the disease diminishes.
Treatment of Eczema In Babies
Since babies tend to scratch a lot, it is prudent to clip their nails at regular intervals. Babies explore and their nails collect a lot of grime and dirt. This can lead to an infection. The baby’s hands can also be covered with mittens at night to prevent him/her from scratching. Bathe the baby with luke-warm water and very mild soap. Over exposure to water and harsh chemicals in the soap can lead to skin dryness and exacerbate the symptoms of eczema. Don’t bathe the baby for more than 10 minutes. You can use dove, pears or Johnson’s baby soap which are very mild and good for the baby’s skin. Lather a lot of moisturizer on the baby’s skin. It has a cooling effect and keeps the baby’s skin soft and supple. Limit dips in the swimming pool or a day at the beach. A combination of sun, sand and salty water can aggravate an allergy.
Consult a doctor about topical medications. Tonnes of infant anti-allergenic creams are available. Rub these lavishly on your baby’s skin. Limit the use of massage oils like olive oil and coconut oil. In fact the baby should not be massaged with oils at all. Since environmental factors are responsible for skin allergies, limit the baby’s exposure to these. Don’t take the baby out in extremely hot or cold weather. Keep him/her indoors at a comfortable room temperature.
Eczemas worsen in summers due to sweat and grime. Clothe the baby in soft, airy cottons that allow him to breathe and promote faster healing. Don’t let the baby come in contact with trimmings, pipings and embellishments. Let him play on soft cotton bed covers and bed sheets. Avoid giving the baby foods that may possibly trigger a reaction. Always consult your doctor about the treatment modality. If the infection is severe, steroid creams and anti-histamine creams may be prescribed.