Monday, May 5, 2008

Eczema in Babies

Eczema is a chronic skin disorder that involves scaly and itchy rashes. This is due to a hypersensitivity reaction in the skin, which leads to long-term inflammation. The inflammation causes the skin to become itchy and scaly. Long-term irritation and scratching can cause the skin to thicken and an have a leather-like texture.

Eczema is most common in infants, and at least half of those cases clear by age 3. In adults, it is generally a long-term or recurring condition. Eczema tends to run in families

How can eczema be prevented?

Eczema outbreaks can usually be avoided with some simple precautions. The following suggestions may help to reduce the severity and frequency of flare-ups:

*Moisturize frequently
*Avoid sudden changes in temperature or humidity
*Avoid sweating or overheating
*Avoid scratchy materials (e.g., wool or other irritants)
*Avoid harsh soaps, detergents, and solvents
*Avoid environmental factors that trigger allergies (e.g., pollens, molds, mites, and animal dander)

How can eczema be treated?
One of the most important components of an eczema treatment routine is to prevent scratching. Because eczema is usually dry and itchy, the most common treatment is the application of lotions or creams to keep the skin as moist as possible. These treatments are generally most effective when applied directly after bathing (within three minutes is a common recommendation) so that the moisture from the bath is "locked in." Cold compresses applied directly to itchy skin can also help relieve itching. If the condition persists, worsens, or does not improve satisfactorily, another effective treatment is the application of nonprescription corticosteroid creams and ointments to reduce inflammation.

Is It Contagious?
Eczema is not contagious, so there's no need to keep a baby or child who has it away from siblings, other children, or anyone else.

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