Toddlers are children considered to be in the age of 1 to 2 years, when they toddle or are learning to walk. Eczema is a chronic skin disorder often common in toddlers and infants. It is characterized by raised, rough, red, intense itchy patches either dry or oozing.
In pediatrics, the most common cause is atopic dermatitis. Atopic is a term which denotes hypersensitivity to certain allergens present in environment. It is often, but not always possible to demonstrate specific allergens which will induce eruptions.
Eczema usually begins in first few years of life and wanes as the child reaches 5 to 6 years or reaches his teen.In between there may be a period of relapse and resurgence. Though not a serious condition, the discomfort and intense itching is always a cause of worry for the parents.
What Causes Eczema In Toddlers?
Eczema in toddlers is often caused as a result of allergic factors, though the allergy itself is not responsible for eczema, it may be a developmental trigger for eczema.
The most common allergens thought to be responsible are dust, pollen, dander, and certain foods. There is a tendency of familial occurrence, and those who have eczema in infancy are more susceptible to have asthma and hay fever later in life.
The onset of eczema in early infancy is commonly associated with introduction of new food to the diet. Eczema is uncommon in breast fed babies and may appear shortly after cow’s milk is introduced into the diet. Egg plays a conspicuous role for development of eczema in toddlers. Sensitivity to egg on skin testing is found commonly and it is believed to be passed intrauterine from mother to the child.
The reactivity of the skin also extends to other potent allergens such as wool, house dust etc. Certain other factors such as sweating, drooling etc tend to worsen the condition. Infection of the eczematous skin is common. Also respiratory infection may initiate exacerbation.
The flare-ups are often observed when the skin is dry, or the skin comes in contact with irritating substances, and with infected skin. So the flare-ups are common in dry wintery months than summer when the atmosphere is humid. Drooling, sweating, contact with dust mites, woolen fabrics, soaps and detergents are all triggering factors.
Signs And Symptoms Of Eczema In Toddlers
The initial lesion of eczema largely depends on its evolution upon scratching induced by intense itching. In infants eczema first appears on cheeks as red rash, which may quickly be followed by tiny blisters formation over the area. The lesions may then spread contiguous area of face or may develop independently in other parts of body.
In toddlers it is often seen in crawling area such as elbow and knees. As the child grows the lesions involve front of elbow and the back of knee, wrist joint -in the flexures. The skin around mouth and eyes may also be affected.
The eczematous lesion is red and sore. There is intense itching which makes the child frustrated and uncomfortable. Later on scratching results in weeping and crusting, and the involved area may be transformed into raw surface oozing serum, pus and blood. The child becomes fretful and irritable. With superadded infection there may be fever.
There is period of remission and the lesion becomes dry, swelling disappears leaving new healthy skin surface. However, the lesion may reappear after some time due to triggering factors.
Continuous scratching and rubbing cause the skin to become thick and cracked. It is particularly seen in skin folds of elbow, knee and wrist.
Natural Eczema Treatment For Toddlers
Eczema in toddlers usually gets cured once the child becomes 5 to 7 years old. In some cases it may take longer time and may heal during his teen. The comprehensive approach focused to treat eczema is to avoid contact with probable offending allergens, treat infection in skin if any, controlling itching and scratching, and local measures to improve the condition of skin. Certain foods that are known to trigger the condition should be excluded from the diet, for example eggs, chocolates etc.
Aside from corticosteroid creams and anti histamine medications, there are effective home remedies which may be less damaging to the sensitive skin of the child. Few steps will help to relieve symptoms and treat the condition.
- Avoid exposure to wool and house dust as far as possible.
- Avoid hot baths and instead use warm water.
- At times eczema is improved at the seashore, where exposure to sun and salt water may prove beneficial. However, be cautious not to overexpose the child to sunlight.
- Avoid using soaps as they are mostly scented.
- A gentle pat is more useful after bath rather than rubbing and scrubbing the towel on his body to make the skin dry.
- Keep the nails short so that it may not harm the skin if he scratches.
- Apply coconut oil as it is an effective natural moisturizer. Apply it after the child takes his bath.
- Aloe vera gel has soothing effect and it alleviates intense itching. Apply it two to three times in a day. Aloe vera gel is also mild antiseptic.
- Extract cucumber juice and apply it over the area. You can also apply cold cucumber slices on the lesion to alleviate terrible itching.
- Calamine lotion is also beneficial to relieve itching and irritation. Apply it in morning and evening on the eczematous lesion.