You’ll probably freak out about any rashes you find on your baby’s body. You’ll always be checking your baby’s skin for any issues, and when you notice redness or dryness you’ll be tempted to call the pediatrician’s emergency line.

Studies show that 20% of babies are born with a condition called eczema. Almost all children that have the condition will have symptoms by the time they are five. Experts aren’t entirely sure what causes it, but it’s often genetic. If you have eczema, there is a good chance your baby will as well. The symptoms will come and go, and it often shows up on the extremities and chest first.

Though it will come and go, the rashes are uncomfortable and irritating. Especially for an infant who can’t express his or her discomfort, the red, scaly patches will be itchy and unsightly.

If you suspect your baby might have eczema, you should take him or her to the pediatrician for confirmation. Often, doctors can diagnose the condition simply by looking at it. It will be especially easy to diagnose if you or your partner have eczema. However, he or she might send you and baby to a dermatologist so that you can treat it properly with confidence.

 There are a few ways that you can treat your baby’s eczema, but one important way to treat it is to prevent it from flaring up. First, try keeping a journal about when the rashes show up. That way, you might learn which environmental triggers cause the flare up so that you can remove them from your baby’s environment. Also, don’t bring your baby into environments with rapidly changing temperatures. Sudden changes from hot to cold and vice versa have been linked to eczema flare-ups. Finally, never expose your baby to cigarette smoke.

If your baby’s rashes aren’t responding to lotions or preventative measures, his or her pediatrician might recommend a topical steroid to help the skin heal faster. While there are no cures for eczema, doctors and researchers are developing new drugs every day to treat the condition. Someday, your baby might be cured based on the advances in modern medicine. Until then, make sure your baby’s preschool or caretakers understand the nature of the rash so that your baby is not quarantined under false pretenses, and always let you’re the pediatrician know if new symptoms arise such as fever or irritability.

Source: Miriam Santer et al: Experiences of Carers Managing Childhood Eczema and Their Views on its Treatment. British Journal of General Practice Volume 62 Issue 597 2009

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