How to manage eczema
Up to 20 percent of children develop eczema under the age of five, as do 10 percent of adults. Childhood eczema often disappears at about six years of age. Some adults will have eczema that has lingered on, while others will have eczema for the first time in adulthood. Other people will have had eczema for the first time as babies or young children and then experience several years of remission only to have the eczema re-appear suddenly and sometimes severely in their adult years. Adult eczema often does recover completely.
There are a number of ways in which you can cut down the possibility of triggering or aggravating the eczema for both children and adults. Following is a quick checklist:
- Wear cotton next to the skin - this helps to reduce sweating which can be an irritant. Cut tags off clothing and wash before wearing. Synthetic or woollen clothes and bedding can cause over-heating.
- Bathe or shower in lukewarm water using soap-substitutes and mild shampoos.
- After bathing or showering, pat skin dry and apply a suitable moisturising cream or ointment.
- Use hypoallergenic products and avoid anything perfumed.
- Reduce dust mite allergens that can trigger eczema in mattresses and bedding by using protective bedding covers with an allergen barrier (such as Protect-A-Bed)
- Keep fingernails short to prevent scratching from breaking the skin and wear cotton mitts or gloves at night.
- People with atopic eczema may be allergic to wool, dust, dust mites, grass seeds, pollens, feathers, animal fur and dander - keep pets outside and remove wool carpets.
- Use non-biological soap powders and detergents.
- Take antihistamines at night to aid in reducing the itchiness and help with sleep.
- Do not embark on a diet without consultation with your doctor or dietician. Food additives are the most likely to cause problems, particularly artificial colourings and preservatives.
For Daycare or School assistance,download a School Pack from the EAA website or call 1300 300 182 and we will send you a copy.
- Over-heating, frosty weather, low humidity, dry air, central heating, air conditioning and car heaters can all aggravate a dry skin and eczema. Use a humidifier in dry or heated rooms to keep the air moist.
- Get to know your own or your child's triggers. What sparks off one person's eczema doesn't necessarily trigger another's.
- The byword with eczema treatment is to act promptly. If it suddenly flares up, don't ignore it. Remember that eczema can become infected.
- Develop and maintain a skin routine which takes into account triggers and the best way of coping with flare-ups. Your Health professional can assist with this.
- Children and adults, experience emotional stress which can play a large role in triggering a flare-up of eczema or aggravating the current condition. No one can get rid of stress in their lives, but we can learn how to handle it more effectively.
Child Lip Eczema
Adult Hand Eczema