One in five children will develop eczema at some stage during their childhood. And whilst eczema usually develops before the age of two years and has resolved before the child reaches school age, this is not always the case.
It is uncommon for eczema to develop before the age of two months. However eczema developing in the early months of life, (usually between two and four months) is typically characterised by a rash that oozes and is crusty. In these early months the rash most often appears on the face first and gradually extends to the limbs, especially in the elbow and knee grooves.
Many children have outgrown the worst of their eczema by the age of two years but for some the eczema rash is only just appearing. Eczema first appearing around the age of two years tends to present as a drier rash and the skin is often scaly.
Eczema is itchy
Regardless of the age that the eczema appears and the characteristics of the rash, all eczema is itchy. It is the itch that often makes the eczema most uncomfortable and has the potential to cause the most damage to the skin.
Despite the fact that most children outgrow their eczema, the condition has no cure. Eczema must run its course. For some this may take a few months or the condition may appear at intervals over several years.
For others the eczema rash is present on the skin continuously for its entire duration which may be for years. It is possible that this may extend beyond childhood into adolescence and even into adult life.
Moisturising is vital
Treatment of eczema is therefore aimed at controlling the symptoms. The main symptoms include dry, inflamed skin, a red rash and of course the itchiness. Keeping the skin moist by using moisturisers is the first line of treatment.
Well-moistened skin is less easily irritated, less likely to crack and become infected and less prone to being itchy. Regular use of a moisturiser is vital in effectively treating eczema.
There are many creams available that have been especially formulated to control the symptoms of inflammation and itchiness. For the best effects they will usually need to be used along with a good quality moisturiser. Eczema creams can be purchased by a doctor prescription, over the counter from a chemist or natural health store or over the internet.
Finding the right cream for your baby can take some time as eczema is very individual and the effects that different treatments have will vary from person to person.
When selecting a non-prescription cream it is important to select one that has few preservatives and no added perfumes as these may aggravate rather than ease the discomforts of eczema.
To effectively control eczema ongoing care and treatment is required. The condition itself will last for months, even years and persistent ongoing skin care will help to ensure that the symptoms of eczema are kept to a minimum.