It’s intensely itchy, causes sensitive scaly skin, and if you scratch, you get a red raw rash, which is even more itchy and sensitive.
Simply put by the Canadian Dermatology Association, eczema, or dermatitis, refers to an inflammation of the skin. As in derma = skin, itis = inflammation.
Eczema is also known as ‘the itch that rashes’ because often the itchiness begins before any rash is visible, which explains why you may have seen your baby rubbing her face on her pillow for weeks before you noticed the red scaly rash on her cheeks.
There are many forms of eczema – atopic, contact (allergic or irritant), nummular/discoid, seborrheic etc. Eczema is uncomfortable and sometimes unsightly but it is not contagious.
Atopic dermatitis (AD) is the most common form of eczema. It is the type that begins in infancy (before six months, with the two/three month mark being very common) but many children do outgrow the condition or see it reduce in severity as their immune systems mature and they learn to manage the condition better.
AD has a hereditary component and is part of the Atopic Triad (cue scary music) which includes asthma and allergies. This means that children with this form of eczema are more likely to develop asthma and allergies, so I urge parents to be vigilant when introducing new foods and when any wheezing or coughing lingers.
There is a lot of research taking place at the moment to help us understand the immune system and its part in the atopic diseases like eczema, asthma and allergies but studies seem to show that gaining control over eczema early on helps to prevent the progression of AD into allergies and asthma (also known as the atopic march).
The key to controlling eczema lies in breaking the itch-scratch cycle. It’s a three-pronged approach that is now universally advised and consists of:
- Identifying and eliminating triggers
- Maintaining a healthy skin barrier through a good moisturising routine
- Treating flare-ups quickly and efficiently
This is the basis of my work and research.
Hopefully this page has given you a better understanding of eczema (Awareness) and will help you take Action. If you need more help, just get in touch.
Please note: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, although every effort is made to provide accurate and up-to-date information. Remember, there is no substitute for a full in-person evaluation by a registered health-care provider and your doctor should always be your first stop. I am not a doctor and I don’t claim to be one. I work in conjunction with your doctor, not in place of her. As with anything relating to your child’s health, at the first sign of anything serious, go see your doctor. Pester them if needed – you are your child’s advocate.