Tip 1: Caring for your child’s skin
Pick a gentle soap-free cleanser for bathing: Pick a gentle fragrance-free non-soap based cleanser to minimise aggravation to the skin when cleansing. Avoid prolonged baths or soaking in the tub.
Moisturise the skin liberally: Apply fragrance- and additive-free moisturiser at least twice a day, immediately after baths as baths are drying to the skin and right before bedtime so that the skin is kept moist and itching can be reduced during sleep.
Avoid irritants: Products with fragrances, parabens and multiple additives may further irritate your child’s skin so read all labels carefully and avoid putting such products on your child’s skin.
Dealing with skin infections:
To prevent skin infections, use antiseptic washes during eczema flare-ups.
You can bring your child to the swimming pool for a more “fun” antiseptic treatment as the chorine in the water helps to keep the skin clean. After swimming, wash off excess chlorine at the poolside and moisturise liberally.
When steroids are needed: You should aim to control your child’s eczema so you don’t have to depend on steroids. However, sometimes this can’t be helped and your doctor may recommend a short course of steroid creams to bring the condition under control. As prolonged or incorrect use of these creams can cause the skin to redden and thin, always follow the doctor’s prescription and guidelines.
Tip 2: Choose suitable clothing
Choose cotton or cotton-blend clothing for your child.
Avoid synthetic materials as these do not allow the skin to breathe and will cause sweating and irritation.
Pick liquid detergents over powders when washing clothing.
Tip 3: Food and other allergens
If you suspect a food allergy, it is important to consult an allergy specialist to do a skin prick test or blood test.
Avoid removing multiple foods from your child’s diet as most aren’t causing true allergies. By eliminating multiple foods from your child’s diet, they may end up not getting a balanced diet.
In young babies, it is not advised to apply creams or lotions with food grade ingredients such as oat and coconut etc. to the skin as there is increasing evidence that topical application of food grade ingredients prior to oral dietary exposure could lead to the development of true food allergies.
Take precautions to reduce dust mite load at home by keeping the environment clean for older children.
Tip 4: Vitamin supplementation
There is some evidence that vitamin D and vitamin E supplementation (at 1000IU/day and 400IU/day respectively) in children with eczema may help reduce the extent and severity of eczema.
Tip 5: Managing school and sports activities
Let teachers know of your child’s need to shower after the activity.
Just be sure that the teachers know that your child should take a shower or use a moist towel to wipe off sweat immediately afterwards as this can irritate the skin.
Make the teachers aware of the needed cleaning and moisturising routine and that your child should be allowed to change into fresh dry clothes.
Although frustrating, eczema can be well controlled with proper treatment and care. Seek help early and begin taking steps to help your child better manage the condition.
Struggling to contain and manage your child's flare-ups at home? Find out more about wet wrap therapy and how it can treat and soothe your child's more severe flare-ups.
Infographic contributed by Dr Mohana Rajakulendran, paediatrician at Parkway East Hospital