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Atopic dermatitis, also known as eczema, is a common condition in babies and small children, but most of them outgrow it as they become older. Eczema results in itching on the skin that starts with dryness and leads to a rash that can become severe. Children facing the condition may feel irritated or different, particularly if they have diet restrictions that prevent it from occurring.
The exact cause of atopic dermatitis is not known and there could be a wide range of reasons that trigger it. In some children, it is because of a family history of allergies while some of the other causes could include:
Dust mites or animal dander
Dry or cold weather
Sweating in hot weather
Foods such as milk, peanuts, eggs, or wheat products
Itching is the main symptom of atopic dermatitis, which can be severe, and recurring, leading to a rash. A rash is like a red patch on the skin and it may be dry, itchy, or scaly. It may also become rough and thick from continuous scratching or develop into a fluid filled sore.
The most common areas affected by eczema in children are the neck, legs, arms, scalp, and face. In babies from 2 months to 2 years, the rash may ooze fluid and occur in winters when the weather is dry, leading to red patches on the skin. For children who are older than 2 years, the rash may be dry and cause the skin to thicken.
To prevent atopic dermatitis in children, you must be very careful about the products used on their skin and not use any product that is not meant for children’s use. Always use mild and soft shampoos, soaps, and creams that contain moisture. If your baby is younger than 6 months, breastfeeding will help build their immunity and protect against allergies if it runs in the family. Keep an eye on your child’s diet as well to see if any of the foods you feed them are causing rashes.
Excessive washing is also harmful to the skin as it peels off the top layer. Make sure you are not bathing your child too much and not leaving them in the tub for too long. A bath of 10-15 minutes is sufficient. Always make sure you dry your child’s skin carefully after a bath especially in areas where the skin folds such as under the arms, back of the knees, etc, as these areas are more prone to eczema. Keep your child’s skin moisturized with a product made for children.
If you see your child suffering from atopic dermatitis, make sure you consult an allergist to prevent it from spreading. Contact us at 212-319-5282 to set up an appointment with one of the best NYC allergists today.
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