What is atopic eczema?
Atopic eczema, also called atopic dermatitis, is a skin disease. It essentially affects young children, between 3 months and 2 years of age. It manifests itself with the appearance of dry patches that are predominantly on the face, cheeks, and forehead. The red patches may ooze or peel. They may cause strong itching.
How did my child catch this eczema?
There is a genetic predisposition to this disease. In six out of ten cases, children presenting with this disease have at least one atopic parent. This form of eczema thereby occurs in children who are themselves predisposed to allergies and their manifestations: asthma, allergic rhinitis, etc.
How will this disease progress?
This is a chronic disease that develops with acute attacks. Between the attack periods, there are remission periods during which the lesions regress. These remission periods can last for several weeks, or even several months. After developing over a few years, your child’s disease will spontaneously disappear, generally around 5-6 years old.
What sets off these episodes?
Certain factors can trigger an episode, such as heat, sweating, dry skin, an allergy (to a detergent or fabric softener, for example), etc. It is important that you are able to identify them in order to potentially eliminate them.
How will I treat my child?
Treatment consists of regularly hydrating your child’s skin. You must apply hydrating cream once per day. Your doctor will recommend an appropriate preparation. You must never use a cream prescribed for someone else, even if the indication is the same. It is also recommended that you use bath oils and avoid giving your child baths that are too hot (never over 33°C), or too long (never more than 5 minutes). Some therapeutic creams (cortisone, antibiotics, etc.) may be prescribed to treat the patches; scrupulously follow the prescription made by your doctor.
Should I take certain precautions?
Detergents: it is recommended that you avoid fabric softeners and carefully rinse the laundry in clear water. Drying the wash outside is not recommended during the pollen season. Clothing: wool and synthetic materials are not recommended. Wool can irritate the skin and synthetic materials don’t absorb sweat well and can promote soaking. Cotton and silk are therefore recommended. You must choose loose-fitting clothes, that reduce rubbing – and thus potential irritation – and sweating. Diet: you must not introduce foods that are known for their ability to set off allergies (egg whites, peanuts, gluten, fish, etc.) too early on. No particular diet is recommended; these precautions are enough. Body hygiene: it is recommended that you be particularly vigilant. Clean skin heals better. You must avoid ordinary soaps and favour lipid-replenishing or acid soaps, whether liquid or solid. After baths, never rub your child’s skin, instead gently pat your child dry, then very rapidly apply a hydrating cream to make sure that the skin keeps its natural moisture. Eczema can also affect the feet.
Can I vaccinate my child despite his/her eczema?
Yes. Vaccination should be performed normally, even if certain vaccines may cause a small outbreak of the disease.
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