Skin irritations and diseases can pose a big challenge as many of them are not so easy to treat completely and can be quite embarrassing. Atopic Dermatitis is not left out of this, also known as Infantile Eczema. Atopic dermatitis is a chronic relapsing itchy disease of the skin. It mostly affects infants and newborn babies from about 3 months after birth and can progress later into childhood and even possibly adulthood. It can be immensely itchy, as it is a dry, scaly rash, associated with the roughness of the skin. It commonly appears on the inner creases of the elbows and knees. Often, there is a relation of Atopic eczema with other allergy diseases such as asthma, hay fever and eczema. This condition can recur in adulthood and affects parts of the body as neck, ankles and wrists.
Atopic eczema, being an itchy dry skin condition requires liberal amounts of ointment based emollients that are moisturising; this is to restore or integrate moisture into these dry parts.
Fortunately, this condition can be prevented in infants and babies. However, it requires enough attention to the minor and major details, which ranges from diet, clothing, bath, bed and even detergents.
Eczema is most likely to develop in infants who belong to families who have high allergies or suffer from severe eczema, asthma and nasal problems. Furthermore, some foods provoke allergies, such as milk from cows, wheat, peanuts, eggs and even fish should be introduced to the babies diet from 4 months. Prior to that, solid foods must be completely avoided. Smoking must also be avoided by the parents during pregnancy, after birth and during breastfeeding. Food colouring and additives can equally aggravate eczema in older children.
Items of clothing which can cause excessive sweating should be avoided. Synthetic clothing and perfumed soaps should be equally avoided as they can irritate the skin. Cotton clothes are highly recommended, especially during hot and humid weather.
Enzyme filled detergents ought to be avoided, and non-biological washing powders should be adopted instead. Soft water helps reduce eczema. It is important however to note that antiseptics, perfumed soaps and bubble baths should be avoided, and extra rinse can be adopted after wash, as a necessary precaution.
Daily bath water should be lukewarm, and moisturising emollients must be applied within 3 minutes after bathing. The skin should be patted, never rubbed. Milton bleach can be added to bathwater twice a week to clear any skin bacteria that can aggravate eczema.
At night, non-allergic lightweight cotton clothing should be worn to cover as much skin as possible. Elbow splints and even hand gloves can be worn to prevent scratching. Necessary precautions should be taken to control house dust mites. Other preventive measures include routine immunisations and vaccinations.
Moisturising ointments and creams should be used liberally to hydrate and protect the skin. Also, steroid creams are used to provide rapid relief from eczema flare-ups. It is used for short periods of about 5 -7 days.
Other treatment options are wet wraps ( applied at night to lock moisture in the skin ), antibiotics, antihistamines and Probiotic/Prebiotic supplements.