Baby eczema or infantile eczema is quite common in small children. Baby eczema belongs to a group of inherited predispositions which include eczema itself, hay-fever, asthma and urticaria. A child who has a parent or grandparent with one of the predispositions may itself demonstrate an entirely different one.
What does eczema look like on babies?
It tends to occur as localized areas of weeping skin. Usually a considerable amount of itch and irritation are present. So baby tends to scratch, and the more he scratches the worse it becomes.
Further infections may occur with the scratching and introduction of germs. Face and scalp are common areas; so are knees and elbows (fronts and backs).
Frequently eczema is associated with a dry skin (so may be worse during winter months); or the aggravating effect of certain materials (notably wool), lanolin, etc.
What causes baby eczema?
Often there is a family history of asthma or other allergic problems. Food is not often blamed as an aggravating cause, and baby’s normal diet should be maintained unless specifically changed by the doctor.
Other factors important in the development of infantile eczema are cow’s milk, eggs and other high-protein foods.
How to treat baby eczema
Although relatively common in babyhood and childhood, this type of skin problem tends to lessen with advancing age.
Fortunately, only about one in three (possibly less) ultimately develop other allergic manifestations like asthma and hay fever. The best treatment is the removal of any possible offending food from the diet such as cow’s milk.
The less the areas are bathed the better. Soap, wool, lanolin should be kept away from all affected parts. Bandaging may be needed to stop scratching and aggravating the affected areas.
Calamine lotion or zinc paste may be applied until the areas dry. Then zinc cream (with added tar several products are available) may be used.
Persisting cases need medical attention.