As if bringing up baby wasn’t enough, raising a child who is prone to neurodermitis makes it that much tougher. Neurodermitis is another word for eczema or atopic dermatitis, which is one of the most common chronic childhood diseases. The bad news is it’s difficult to treat. Children who are prone to developing eczema usually break out in a rash in their first year. The skin feels rough, dry and scaly. It soon gets red and itchy, and despite intensive care, it doesn’t return to normal.
While older children develop eczema on the wrists, feet, elbows and knees, infants are prome to it on the neck and face, sometimes on the upper body. Apart from dry and scaly skin, tears appear at the corners of the mouth and inflamed skin folds behind the ears. Sometimes, lesions may also appear on the skin.
Eczema should not be confused with psoriasis, which also occurs in children. The diseases appear at different places on the body.
Why In Children?
Eczema is a hereditary disease, which means if adults in the family have it, a baby born into the same family is at increased risk. However, 30 per cent of children with eczema are genetically normal.
But even if your baby is prone to eczema, the disease requires a tirgger to actually manifest itself. These may include stress, anxiety, food allergies and allergic reactions to certain types of clothing. There are many things you can do to protect your child from developing atopic dermatitis.
How To Prevent Eczema
The power of mother’s milk: When atopic dermatitis occurs in the family, the infant should be breastfed for at least four to six months. Breastfeeding can prevent the onset of atopic dermatitis but not always. If it develops later, after breastfeedig stops, the eczema is usually mild.
Infant formula. As an alternative to breastfeeding, infant formula is hypoallergenic. Its protein components, which can act as allergens, are inactivated.
Food supplementation: It is advisable to start your baby on semi-solids at six months o age. If the new food coincides with the appearance of rash, add only one new food to your baby’s menu every one to two weeks to identify which one may be causing an allergy. Milk, eggs and citrus fruit could act as strong allergens.
Do not smoke: Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers should not smoke. Tobacco and its additives increase the risk of your baby being vulnerable to eczema.
How To Deal With Eczema
Dealing with eczema is difficult. Relapses can occur without any apparent reason. So there will be periods when the skin is all right and periods when it isn’t. It takes time and patience to find the trigger, and rarely does eczema disappear after a few months.
Children with eczema need lots of patience, attention, time and support, and it therefore places a huge burden on the mother. Mothers could also tend to go off the deep end and become overprotective. Discussions with other parents in the same boat can help parents to cope better.