|My 2 year old has eczema... it is a nightmare to watch him
suffer. What can I do?
Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis) is the most common skin condition
in children under 5. It’s an itchy rash that gets
worse when scratched or rubbed. The majority of cases develop
during the first year and most often affects children with
a family history of allergies.
Medical help is essential and treatment usually includes
antibiotics and steroid creams for inflammation as well
as antihistamines for itching which helps with sleeping
at night. If a food allergy is suspected then food testing
and an elimination diet is recommended. Dairy and eggs are
often the most common food culprits but not always; followed
by soy, wheat, peanuts and fish. A recent study shows that
vitamin C can be helpful, but check with your doctor.
In the meantime here are some things you can do to alleviate
your toddler’s symptoms.
1. Prevent scratching by clipping
your toddler’s nails very short.
2. Reduce baths to no more than
5 minutes; avoid very hot baths. Don’t use soap
on the affected area. Try using a mild cleanser (Dove
or Neutrogena). Long baths causes the skin to dehydrate
and prune, which disturbs the moisture layer of the
skin. Avoid rubbing the skin and pat dry. Apply a
doctor recommended moisturiser after the bath. (Do
not use vegetable fats or oils).
3. Add a soothing colloidal oatmeal
bath product to the bath water or make your own, see
4. During a flare-up apply cool
compresses, and then moisturise.
5. Choose cotton organic clothes for softness and breathability,
rather than wool or synthetics.
6. Be scrupulously hygienic to avoid the open sores
from becoming infected. Ensure that any caregiver at
school or otherwise is advised of the extra need for
7. Wash clothes with a soap based product ie a non bio
8. Use a humidifier to moisturise the air in the room
where he sleeps. Reduce situations which cause sweating.
Make your own oatmeal bath.
For toddlers use 1 cup oatmeal (any oats, quick or slow).
For babies 1/3 cup.
Blend the oats on the highest setting in a food blender
until powder fine. To test whether fine enough, stir 1 tablespoon
of the fine oats into a glass of warm water. The oats should
readily absorb into the water which then becomes milky and
feels silky. If not, continue blending.
Sprinkle the oatmeal into the bath while the tap is still
running and swirl around with your hand. Break up any clumps.
Note; the oatmeal colloid will make the bath slippery, so
support your child so that he doesn’t slip. Bath for
5 minutes. Pat dry with a soft towel.