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Itching comes from the body’s defense system (the immune system) responding to a trigger, such as an allergen or irritation. As the skin barrier is disrupted in eczema, an itchy child may scratch, breaking the skin and making things worse. Eczema is a skin condition that causes the skin to become inflamed, itchy, and dry. Itching can be uncontrollable and intense. As the skin is broken, it becomes more susceptible to infection with Staphylococcus aureus bacteria. A child with eczema may scratch vigorously enough to cause bleeding, crusting, or open sores. The areas most commonly affected are the insides of elbows and behind knees, wrists, ankles, neck, face, and scalp. Numerous minor scratches can blend into one more extensive rash that increases inflammation. Scratching also increases time spent scratching per day (habituation) which causes further disruption of standard sleep patterns. Let’s know about eczema and how I stopped my child from crossing.
What is eczema?
-Eczema causes the skin to become inflamed, dry, and itchy. It is a common skin condition that can affect any age group but generally appears in infancy or early childhood.
-It most commonly presents on the face (cheeks, forehead), inside of elbows and knees, hands and feet/toes.
-Other possible presentations include trunk (trunk of arm pit-axilla region especially), neck folds (plica submucosa), flexures (armpits, wrist creases).
-Eczema is an inflammatory disease caused by various factors, including “Vasculitis” – inflammation of blood vessels causing swelling or redness in the affected area, which results in itching. Genetic makeup may also be a contributory factor.
What are the symptoms of eczema?
- -Rash, which may be red, dry, scaly, or weepy
- -Burning or stinging sensations
- -Raw skin from excessive scratching
What are the leading causes of eczema in children?
- Genetic predisposition- Children with eczema parents are more likely to develop the condition.
- Environmental factors- Skin contact with irritants, allergens, or aeroallergens may cause reactions in children with a genetic predisposition to eczema. Known irritants/contributing factors include
- a) Dry skin from cold weather and indoor heating
- b) Allergens from pets e.g., cat dander and dog dander
- c) Foods that trigger an allergic reaction in susceptible individuals – Some known triggers include eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish, and shellfish.
Other possibilities which have been suggested but not proven include cow’s milk protein allergy and additives such as food colorings and preservatives.
- Infections –Staphylococcus aureus is commonly present on normal skin but becomes more prevalent in the presence of scratching, which reduces the skin barrier function and results in secondary infection. Other organisms implicated include the herpes simplex virus, Malassezia (a yeast), and Candida albicans (yeast).
How can scratching make your child’s eczema worse?
- Itching comes from the body’s defense system (the immune system) responding to a trigger, such as an allergen or irritation. As the skin barrier is disrupted in eczema, an itchy child may scratch, breaking the skin and making things worse.
- Eczema is a skin condition that causes the skin to become inflamed, itchy, and dry. Itching can be uncontrollable and intense. As the skin is broken, it becomes more susceptible to infection with Staphylococcus aureus bacteria.
- A child with eczema may scratch vigorously enough to cause bleeding, crusting, or open sores. The areas most commonly affected are the insides of elbows and behind knees, wrists, ankles, neck, face, and scalp.
- Numerous minor scratches can blend into one more extensive rash that increases inflammation. Scratching also increases time spent scratching per day (habituation) which causes further disruption of standard sleep patterns.
How to stop my child from scratching his eczema?
The most critical factor in managing eczema is to keep the skin well hydrated by using lotions or creams. Moisturizing can help reduce itching and pain, decrease inflammation, make the skin less itchy and prevent dryness that leads to cracking. Lotions are typically preferred over creams because they tend to be more easily absorbed into the skin. The use of petroleum jelly (Vaseline) on topical treatment has not provided added benefits. Still, it may be helpful for some children who need extra moisture on some regions of their body, such as fingertips or toes, where there is limited access between clothing and the surface of the skin.
Apply topical treatments
Topical treatments are applied directly to the skin to help reduce inflammation and itching. The most common ingredients include corticosteroids (steroids), calcineurin inhibitors, and pimecrolimus. A doctor will choose a medication based on age, symptoms, and health history.
It is also essential for parents to help their children avoid known irritants or allergens that may cause a reaction. This may include keeping them away from pets with fur, cigarette smoke, dry weather, and certain foods.
Bathe in cool water
Daily bathing is necessary for cleaning the skin but should be done using cool or lukewarm water. Warm or hot water can irritate the skin. Bathing too frequently may strip the skin of natural oils, leading to dryness and chapping, which can cause more itching and scratching.
Avoid picking at the skin.
Picking at the itchy areas should be avoided since this will only worsen the symptoms because it breaks down the skin barrier. The use of emollients (moisturizers) before bedtime and gentle handling of the affected area may help reduce picking behavior. Be sure to wash hands carefully after applying topical treatment or hand cream to limit the spread of infection from other family members who may touch these areas during the day.
Identify and avoid allergens and irritants.
It is essential to try and identify any allergens or irritants that may be causing a reaction and avoid them if possible. This may include exposure to cigarette smoke, dust mites, pet dander, pollen, foods, and harsh soaps or detergents. If your child is allergic to something, you will need to find out and avoid it. If your child reacts to a chemical or environmental factor, limit his exposure.
Keep your child’s fingernails short and clean.
It is also essential to trim your child’s fingernails every few days to reduce scratching. Be sure to use a nail file or clippers instead of scissors, so you do not cause more damage by cutting into the skin underneath the nails. If the fingers are affected, try putting socks on their hands at night to prevent picking.
Keep your home clean.
Dust mites are microscopic organisms that live in dust, including mattresses, blankets, and stuffed toys. Their feces can trigger allergies or eczema flare-ups. You can keep them under control by regularly cleaning bedding and soft toys in hot water (above 130 degrees Fahrenheit), killing the mites. Try washing all bedding weekly and vacuuming and damp-dusting furniture every few days.
Give your child a stress ball to squeeze.
Stress can aggravate eczema symptoms. If your child seems stressed out, try giving him a stress ball or other toy to squeeze. Encourage him to take breaks throughout the day to relax and calm down. If the eczema is located on his face, you may also want to consider using a humidifier in his room at night to add moisture to the air.
Apply cold compresses
If the itching is severe, you can apply a cold compress (a cloth soaked in ice water) for a few minutes to help numb the area and provide relief.
Wear gloves at night
This will prevent your child from scratching his eczema while he is sleeping. Gloves should be worn with a heavy cotton pair on top of them to ensure the skin is protected from nicking and breaking.
Drink Plenty of fluids
Children need to drink plenty of fluids, especially water, to help keep their skin hydrated. This will also help flush toxins from the body and reduce the likelihood of a reaction.
Eczema is a condition that causes the skin to become dry, itchy, and inflamed. It is a common problem that affects both children and adults. There is no cure for eczema, but treatments can help control the symptoms. The most important thing parents can do to help their child with eczema is avoid triggers that may cause a reaction. This includes keeping them away from pets with fur, cigarette smoke, dry weather, and certain foods. If your child is allergic to something, you will need to find out and avoid it. If your child reacts to a chemical or environmental factor, limit his exposure.
Here are the ways you can prevent eczema itching in your child by natural remedies:
- Aloe Vera – Apply Aloe to the child’s skin. This is because it has a cooling effect and moisturizing property, which helps in reducing itching.
- Apple cider vinegar- Mix apple cider vinegar with water or aloe vera gel and apply this mixture to eczema patches for instant relief from itching.
- Cold compress- Applying a cold compress can soothe your child’s itchiness by instantly reducing inflammation through vasoconstriction (narrowing of blood vessels). It might be a little difficult for you to put ice cubes on the baby’s body, but you could wrap some cloth dipped into chilled water around his limbs(cold compresses) at least three times a day to decrease itchiness naturally.
- Coconut oil-Apply virgin coconut oil topically on the skin. It is a natural antihistamine and has moisturizing properties that can help to reduce eczema itching.
- Epsom salt bath- Add Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) to your child’s bathwater. Magnesium helps to relax tense muscles and soothes itchy skin. Sulphate helps to draw toxins out of the body, which may be helpful if an infection causes your child’s eczema.
- Oatmeal bath- Add oatmeal (Colloidal oatmeal) to your child’s bathwater. The oats will help absorb moisture from the skin and have anti-inflammatory and itch-relieving properties.
- Apply essential oils- Add a few drops of lavender oil to your child’s bathwater, and his skin will be smooth and itch-free after that. Lavender has anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and sedative properties, which help relieve the itching associated with eczema. Also, add some tea tree oil, which helps treat infection caused by bacteria or fungi.
- Almond oil –Massage your child’s skin with almond oil as it is rich in protein and vitamin E, soothes, cools down inflammation, and reduces itchiness too. You can use this mixture for massaging, or you can also take two teaspoons of almond oil, one teaspoon of honey, and one teaspoon of rice flour to make a paste and then apply it to the skin.
- Herbal tea- Have a cup of chamomile or lavender tea to reduce eczema itching. Chamomile is a natural antihistamine, while lavender oil has anti-inflammatory properties that can help to relieve itchiness.
- Baking soda- Add 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda to bathtub water and soak your child’s body in it for 10 minutes. This will help neutralize the skin’s pH level, reduce inflammation, and soothe itchiness.
Eczema can be a very itchy condition, and it is often difficult to keep a child from scratching the affected areas. However, there are several ways to help relieve the itchiness and prevent your child from scratching his skin. If you feel there is no relief in sight or that your child is scratching too much, consider seeing a skin doctor to rule out secondary infection. You can also consider homeopathic treatment for your child’s eczema.
- Homeopathic treatment for eczema helps cure the root cause of the skin disorder. Homeopathy doctor helps to get to the root of eczema causes responsible for triggering itchiness. The doctor will investigate the triggers, including food allergies, stress, hormonal changes, etc., and prescribe medicines accordingly.
- Natural remedies for eczema help relieve itchiness in children by moisturizing their skin and reducing inflammation. Homeopathic treatment for eczema helps increase immunity in children, which helps keep the skin healthy and free from eczema flare-ups.
- Homeopathy doctors provide customized treatment for eczema, depending on the child’s age, symptoms and triggers. If you are looking for a safe and effective treatment for your child’s eczema, then homeopathy is the best option to consider. For more information, you can book an appointment through OHO Homeopathy!