Having a newborn baby is a beautiful thing and for many people it is the most rewarding period in life. However, babies are susceptible to many health problems, which causes great frustration and apprehension in parents.
Baby eczema is not a serious or life threatening condition, but it does make the baby irritable and it certainly is not pleasant.
About baby eczema
Eczema is a chronic inflammatory condition that affects the skin. The most common form of this condition in babies is atopic eczema. It is characterized by red, itchy rash that develops on the body, with patches of very dry and scaly skin. The cause of atopic eczema in babies is probably genetic, and it also has an allergic component.
A baby’s skin is always very delicate and sensitive. If it becomes affected by eczema, the first sign will include dryness. Dry skin causes discomfort and it breaks easily, which may lead to bleeding and even to infections. Another frustrating symptom is itching, which makes the baby irritable and fussy.
How to treat baby eczema
The first thing to do if a baby has eczema is to control and minimize the dryness of the skin. The best and the easiest way to do so is to add baby oil in bath water and to soak the baby in it for several minutes each day. Many parents avoid bathing their babies every day because the water dries the skin up, however, if mineral oils are added, that effect will be avoided.
The biggest problem with baby eczema is the itch. Babies cannot refrain from scratching, which can damage the skin. Therefore, the parents must reduce the itching in order to prevent that damage.
Fortunately, there are many brands of eczema creams that are available over-the-counter. Those creams and ointments reduce the symptoms of eczema, itching in particular. However, a pediatrician should be consulted before using any of the over-the-counter products on the baby.
Another way to prevent the baby from scratching is to trim the nails short and to cover the hands, especially when sleeping, because babies do most of their scratching in their sleep. Hands can be covered with little mitts that are sometimes attached to baby garments. Even clean socks can be worn on the hands to prevent scratching and the damage to the skin.
In addition, clothes should be made of pure cotton. This is because the natural fibers in this fabric do not irritate or scratch the skin. Clothing tags should be cut off too.
In case the skin breaks due to dryness and scratching, the cut or the scrape should be treated properly in order to avoid infections. If any sign of infection appears, the baby should be taken to a doctor.