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Ecxema - Scratchy KidsSCRATCHY KIDS

ECZEMA typically starts in the first six months of life and affects up to one in three infants. While there is no cure for eczema, it can be effectively treated. As well as avoiding exposure to known triggers and allergens, doctors will usually prescribe emollient moisturisers to hydrate the skin; steroid ointments to prevent and control inflammation; antihistamines to treat itching and antibiotics to deal with any infection, a common cause of admission to hospital particularly with younger babies.

Moisturising is the key to effective treatment. You need to use lots of cream (available on prescription), more often than you think necessary. This may be several times a day initially but the key is using it preventatively as well as in response to symptoms.

Scratching is the enemy – hours or days of work can be undone in minutes – so get your child involved in managing their eczema from a young age. The sooner they can make the connection between 'itch' and 'cream', versus 'itch' and 'scratch', the better. Children as young as 14 months can recognise that cream relieves the itch and bring you their cream when they feel itchy.

Even if your child has allergies, don't think removing an allergen will necessarily get rid of the eczema. By all eczema means minimise triggers but don't pin your hopes on it, and be wary of depriving your child nutritionally through food restrictions or developmentally through limiting access to irritants such as sand and water. Rather than saying no altogether, maybe allow your child to play with sand and water for a short time, using cream before and after to minimise the effect....

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Issue: Spring 2015