What is Eczema?
Eczema (also called atopic dermatitis) is a skin condition that causes the skin to be inflamed, red, and itchy because of the body’s overactive response to irritants. Most adults who develop eczema develop it after the age of 18. The symptoms typically come and go throughout their lives. It is very common in young children, although most typically outgrow it by the time they start school.
If your baby has eczema, the best thing is to control eczema flare-ups and to avoid what may worsen your child’s condition.
Symptoms of eczema will vary depending on its severity. When irritants are around that trigger eczema, symptoms can be worse. Here are some common symptoms:
- Red, inflamed, and dry skin patches of skin – typically on the face and near the knees, elbows, and wrists
- Very itchy skin
- Pus-filled wounds – this commonly happens when the condition worsens, and patients itch patches severely
There are many triggers that can make eczema worse for your baby. Every person has different triggers and it’s your job to figure out what your baby’s triggers are so you can avoid them. This will help reduce eczema symptoms so your baby can be as comfortable as possible. Common triggers include:
- Very hot or cold weather
- Harsh chemicals found in lotions, soaps, and perfumes
- Certain types of cloth
- Animal dander
- Certain foods
When to See a Doctor
While you can do a lot to control your baby’s eczema, sometimes you have to seek medical attention. Look out for the following signs and see a doctor if any of these occur.
- Unresponsiveness to over-the-counter medications. There are a lot of over-the-counter creams available that can sooth eczema. These ointments are very good at treating eczema for your baby. If they aren’t working, however, you should see a doctor to get prescription medicine instead.
- Changes in responsiveness to prescription medicine. Just because one medicine is working today doesn’t mean it will always work. If you have prescription medication for your baby’s eczema and you see it doesn’t work as well as it previously did to control symptoms, it’s time to reevaluate the medicine. Your doctor will be able to examine your baby and see if another medicine will be better.
- Appearance of yellow crust on the eczema patches. Yellow crust indicates that there may be a bacterial infection. This needs to be checked out immediately by a doctor because if it goes untreated, it will get worse. Your doctor will be able to determine if antibiotics should be prescribed to stop the infection.
- Development of pus-filled blisters on the eczema patches. Blisters (often filled with pus) are also a sign that there may be an infection. They are also very painful and a sign that the eczema isn’t being managed adequately. A doctor can evaluate your management plan and make adjustments, so you can better control your child’s eczema symptoms.
If you are looking for a doctor to treat skin conditions for you and your family, call the Children’s Skin Center. Dr. Ana M. Duarte is an expert in pediatric and adult dermatology and treats a variety of skin conditions like eczema. Call (305) 669-6555 to make an appointment today. You can also request an appointment online.