Battling the Itch: This parent’s guide offers insights into how to manage baby eczema

In a newborn, there is nothing more heart wrenching than seeing your child having to endure the discomfort of a condition like eczema. These symptoms include angry sore patches of skin and the constant scratching that never seems to end, the itch that accompanies it is relentless and can be very frustrating and at times even disabling. Fear not, mothers and fathers - armed with the right information and advice, you can aid your baby and minimise the discomfort of those who are suffering from the red and itchy skin.

Nevertheless, it seems necessary to highlight that before moving further, the subject of our further discussion - the eczema, known also as atopic dermatitis, refers to the category of chronic skin inflammations that are rather common in babies and toddlers. Little is understood concerning its origin; however, it is believed to be hereditary; it can be occasioned by dry skin, irritations, stress, and even certain types of foods can induce it. For those parents who are facing baby eczema, there is nothing better than to make sure, their babies' skin is well moisturised.

Purchase lotions or creams that are not fragrant and are hypoallergenic and rub on the skin immediately after the skin has been washed, when the skin is damp. It helps in reducing the process of evaporation of water and in the creation of a barrier which would keep the irritating substances from coming into direct contact with the epidermis. In other words, children should not spend hours on end in the tub, much less in water that is too hot, and that for a maximum of 10-15 minutes at that. D.O NOT do the following: Use of soap and bubble baths as they strip off natural oils from baby skin thus increasing dryness. However, the daily facial cleansers should be removed and replaced with a gentle, non-irritating hypoallergenic and paraben facial wash appropriate for people with eczema.

Concerning the dresses, ensure the baby is dressed appropriately in simple wearing clothes especially those made of fabric like the cotton so that in case the baby's skin becomes scratchy like what happens with fabrics like wool then the situation does not worsen. It is also safe to keep their nails very short to avoid causing scratch on the baby's delicate skin. However, for a skin flare it may seem that the easiest and most convenient thing to do to ease the skin discomfort is to apply a layer of some heavy, greasy cream that is at home; however, it is always advisable to consult the general practitioner or dermatologist as this is not always the best solution.

Sometimes the doctor may prescribe a topical agent like a cream or oil containing steroids or calcineurin inhibitors to help to reduce the swelling and itching but this is only for the short-term. There are instances when it is believed that certain foods cause worsening of the eczema; in this case your doctor may exclude these foods from your diet or even your baby if still on breast milk. Dairy products, eggs, soy, nuts, wheat and seafood are some of the most common trigger foods but the parents must seek advice from a nutritionist to ensure the child gets the required nutrients.

Last but not least distraction is not to be overlooked as a very effective way of addressing the issue. When itching is at its peak one should try to engage the baby in other activities such as playing with toys or listening to stories or even gently rubbing the affected area so that he or she is discouraged from further scratching. There is a lot of stress and frustration whenever one is dealing with baby eczema and this is because it takes time and details on how to alleviate the suffering on the skin of the baby.