Our third contribution from Dermatology Nurse and our skincare expert, Selene Daly, focuses on eczema – an inflammatory skin condition which can cause the skin to become very itchy, dry, cracked, sore and red. Eczema is most common in babies and young children, and some grow out of it.
The severity of eczema can vary vastly from person to person. Some people with mild eczema may only have small areas of dry skin that are occasionally itchy, while in more severe cases, atopic eczema can cause widespread red, inflamed skin all over the body and itching which may induce bleeding.
- Total emollient therapy is a central part of the treatment of atopic eczema. Eliminating all normal soaps, bubble bath and shower gels from the bathroom is essential. Try to integrate the application of emollients into your child’s daily routine. Consider having small pots of moisturiser available at various locations around your home so that they are easily accessible. If you avail of childcare, speak to your childcare provider to ask if they would apply emollient during the day.
- If your child’s skin is very scratched and the wounds are open, apply emollient all over the body before he/she goes into the bath, to reduce discomfort on contact with the water.
- It is important to have the bath water tepid. Hot water will aggravate the itch. After bathing, pat the skin gently rather than rubbing. Rubbing may cause more itching and may excessively remove the emollients.
- When eczema becomes crusted/infected, a course of antibiotics will be necessary. It is important to attend your G.P. immediately for treatment.
- It is advisable to keep your child from close contact with anyone who suffers from cold sores. For example, people who suffer recurrent cold sores should not kiss your child. The skin’s immune system in a child with atopic eczema tends to be slow in fighting the cold sore virus. The child is thus at risk of large or widespread herpes simplex infection which would make them unwell. If this condition is suspected, you should seek medical attention promptly.
- An ideal range of emollient to use is the full Elave Skincare range, available in your local CarePlus Pharmacy. It includes shower wash, bath additive, shampoo, conditioner, shave gel for adults and sunscreen.
- Make sure that your child’s fingernails are short so if they do scratch their skin, there will be minimal damage.
- For very young babies, there can be a strong temptation to take them into your bed with you when they are scratching and distressed due to their eczema. While it is important to comfort your child, your body heat can tend to make your child’s itch worse. It is best to discourage the habit of your child coming into your bed.
Call into your local CarePlus Pharmacy to speak to your Pharmacist for more information on eczema.