5 Common Questions Parents Ask About Eczema

Parents, we understand that kids don’t come with an instruction manual, and navigating childhood eczema can be a daunting task. Fortunately, you can rely on our team of dermatologists to guide you and your child through this journey. In our previous #AskDermCenters eczema series blog, we answered questions our patients frequently ask us. This particular installment of the series focuses more on questions we get from parents about childhood eczema. We invite you to keep reading to find the answers you’ve been searching for.

How common is childhood eczema?

In the United States, childhood eczema is very prevalent. The National Eczema Association estimates that 1 in 10 people will develop eczema in their lifetime, with most developing the skin condition during childhood. Some babies even show eczema symptoms as early as  6 months of age. There are seven types of eczema, but only four of those are considered “common” in children:

  1. Atopic Dermatitis – Affects 13% of kids under 18
  2. Contact Dermatitis
  3. Dyshidrotic Eczema
  4. Seborrheic Dermatitis – Cradle Cap

For detailed explanations of these types, click here.

Consult your child’s pediatrician or a pediatric dermatologist to create a treatment plan. Keep in mind that some over-the-counter treatment options may not be safe for infants, so it is best to seek guidance from a medical professional.

Can my child “catch” eczema?

Unlike the flu or stomach bug, eczema is not a contagious condition. It is typically inherited through genetic factors passed down from one generation to the next. When both parents have eczema, the likelihood of their child developing it is significantly higher. A study published in the Journal of Pediatrics found that a child’s risk is two to three times higher if there is a family history of the disease. Eczema can be triggered by various factors, and these triggers vary from person to person. Examples include pollution, food sensitivities, drinking water contaminants, materials used in clothing, etc. While there is a possibility for a child with a family history of eczema to not develop the condition, it is more probable that they will.

What are the best ways to provide relief for a child experiencing an eczema flare-up?

Parents, we know how painful it can be to see your child struggling with the discomfort of an eczema flare-up. There are steps you can take to help your child find relief. Start by swapping out your child’s soaps and household laundry detergents for fragrance-free options. The NEA has a product directory on its website to assist in finding products deemed safe for kids with eczema. At bath time, draw your child a bleach bath to alleviate itching. The American Academy of Dermatology Association shares specific bleach bath instructions on its website. Wet wrap therapy is another option, with 70% of kids experiencing symptom relief according to the NEA. Detailed instructions can be found by clicking here. Topical steroids prescribed by your child’s dermatologist or doctors can bring significant relief. Schedule an appointment with one of our dermatologists today to create a plan tailored to address your child’s symptoms.

How can I help my child manage eczema at school?

At school, eczema can be a serious distraction for students. Parents, one of the best steps you can take is to inform the school about your child’s condition. Schedule a meeting with your child’s teacher and school administrators to establish an action plan. This could include guidelines for applying topical medication or recommendations for alternative activities your child could participate in instead of physical education or other sweat-inducing activities. You might also consider a 504 plan, a provision in the Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which provides support for addressing learning, medical, or physical issues. We recommend putting together a small eczema care pack your student can keep in their backpack. The pack should include moisturizer, bandages, gloves for handling triggering materials, and alcohol-free hand sanitizer. The National Eczema Society offers additional resources to help parents and students, which you can explore by clicking here.

What can I do to calm the itch so that my child can sleep at night?

Many parents share the struggle of eczema keeping their son or daughter awake at night. According to the National Eczema Association, over 80% of children experiencing a flare-up struggle to fall or stay asleep. To help your child get the sleep they need, consult with their dermatologist to create a skincare plan. This plan may include nightly warm baths to hydrate the skin and medications to control your child’s eczema. Establish a bedtime routine where your child gets ready for bed, turns off the lights, and wakes up at the same time daily. Not getting enough sleep can result in behavioral, learning, and health issues.

One Last Word

Parents, remember that you are not alone in this journey. We are here to support you and your child. Eczema doesn’t have to dominate your child’s life. Call us at 423-521-1100 to schedule an appointment, so your child can experience relief.