My child has scaly purple patches on her skin that appear to be very itchy. What is this ugly rash?

It sounds like eczema- a pores and skin rash that usually appears within the first 12 months of a child's life. Eczema normally appears on areas such as a baby's forehead, cheeks, and scalp, however it can spread to the arms, legs, chest, and other parts of the body in some more rare cases.

Your baby's rash will likely look dry, thick, scaly skin, or it might appear as tiny red bumps that may blister, ooze, or can get infected if they are scratched. Eczema is not contagious but it can be itchy so scratching is often a problem.

What causes baby eczema?

No one actually knows with any certainty, but some believe eczema is inherited. So your child is likely to have it if you or a close member of the family has had eczema, asthma, or allergies.

Eczema isn't an allergic reaction to a substance, however it can be triggered by allergens in your baby's food. The rash may also be aggravated by warmth, irritants that come in contact with your child's skin (like wool or some soaps, lotions, and detergents), temperature changes, and dry skin.

How common is baby eczema?

About 20 percent of infants and young children have eczema. It usually begins in infancy, with sixty five percent of sufferers showing symptoms in the first year of life and ninety percent getting symptoms before age 5. About 60 percent of cases persist into maturity, though the majority of babies improve by the age of 2.

What can I do to deal with my baby's eczema?

Taking excellent care of your baby's pores and skin is crucial. Here are some suggestions:

* Attempt to stop your child's pores and skin from getting too dry. Discuss together with your doctor about how to bathe your child. Many consultants now say that bathing daily might be helpful for infants with eczema. Just don't make the water too warm, because warm water dries out the skin quicker than lukewarm water.

* Use a gentle cleaning soap, and wash and shampoo your baby at the end of the bath so they aren't sitting in soapy water too long. When you get your child out of the bathtub, pat their pores and skin dry (don't rub), then promptly apply moisturizer or emollient - an ointment, cream, or lotion that "seals in" their own moisture.

* Letting your baby's skin breathe by dressing him or her in fabrics like cotton. Avoid wool and other scratchy materials, which might irritate their skin.

* Switch to mild, perfume-free soaps and shampoos, or those made for delicate skin. Use gentle, perfume-free detergent for laundry your baby's garments and bedding. Also avoid fabric softeners.

* Rapid modifications in temperature can make eczema worse, so try to not let your baby get too hot and then cool quickly, or vice versa.

* Try and stop you baby from scratching. They may try to get a little relief by scratching with their fingers or by rubbing their faces on the sheets while sleeping. Scratching and rubbing can further irritate or inflame the skin and make it worse.

* Use the softest sheets you can find in their crib, and make sure their nails are short. Also try putting them to bed with cotton mittens or socks on their hands.

Do Certain Foods Cause Eczema?

Eczema isn't an allergy, however in some kids, certain foods can set off eczema or make it noticeably worse.

If you or your doctor(or other medical professional) suspect that your child's eczema is affected by some foods, the culprits are often cow's milk, eggs, soy, wheat, peanuts, and fish. You might need to eliminate them from your baby's diet.

Your baby should not drink cow's milk till after their first birthday, but when they have eczema you might need to delay giving them milk all together.

Remove foods one by one, giving a check every few weeks because it might take that long to get all traces of the foods out of your child's system.

Meals can be a trigger for as many as 30 percent of children with eczema, but it's the main trigger in about 10 % of eczema cases. You'll still need to be conscientious about skin care and different factors.

Does breastfeeding help?

Studies present that breastfeeding does help stop eczema in infants who're more likely to get it because one of their parents might have it. Whether it helps a child who already has eczema is unknown but debated, however most experts agree that it can't hurt.

What do I do if the rash isn't getting better?

Talk with your child's physician or dermatologist. If the rash doesn't heal after following the recommendations above, your doctor may suggest steroids, which may be purchased over the counter.

If the over-the-counter selection does not do the trick, your child's physician might prescribe a stronger steroid. A steroid cream or ointment generally works wonders to help break a cussed cycle of eczema. A short course of oral steroid treatment can typically help get eczema underneath enough control that the opposite strategies you try will work more effectively.

Researchers are developing new drugs for eczema victims, if your child continues to struggle with the condition, ask their doctor to tell you about cures which might help your baby.

Remember to give the doctor a call in case your baby develops a fever or other signs that she might have an infection. You will be able to tell because the area will likely be oozing or will be more warm to the touch than normal.

Will my baby always have eczema?

Maybe. Many children eventually outgrow eczema, however it is impossible to know if they will outgrow the condition before they actually do.

The good news is that eczema gets better as the child ages. There are also many ways to handle it. By following everything mentioned above and treating any flare-ups immediately, you'll have a much easier time making sure that your baby's eczema is controlled.