There is no simple cure for atopic eczema. However, the symptoms during an eczema flare can usually be eased with a variety of treatments. Children with atopic eczema typically find that their symptoms will naturally improve with time.
There are a number of self-care treatments that you can use at home to help manage your child’s eczema symptoms.
Eczema can be itchy and scratching it will further aggravate the skin. If you scratch the skin, the risk of your eczema becoming infected with bacteria will be increased.
There may be times when you or your child will not be able to help from scratching the eczema. Keeping nails short will help to minimise any damage to the skin. If your baby has atopic eczema, anti-scratch mittens will help prevent them from scratching their skin.
Avoid trigger factors
Your GP will work with you to try to establish what factors or foods cause your child’s eczema flares. If you are able to establish which factors trigger flares, you can try and avoid contact with them.
For example, if some man-made materials irritate your child’s skin, avoid giving him synthetic fibres to wear and stick to natural materials, such as cotton. Or, if heat aggravates your child’s eczema, make sure to keep the rooms in your home cool. It’s also important to avoid using any soaps or detergents that you think may affect your child’s skin.
Although house dust mites have been shown to trigger eczema flares, it is not recommended that you try to eradicate dust mites from your home. The process is very time consuming and difficult to carry out effectively. Studies have also shown that dust mite avoidance techniques are rarely effective.
Diet and eczema
If you or your child has atopic eczema, you should not make any significant dietary changes without first consulting your GP. Some foods, such as milk, eggs and nuts, have been shown to trigger eczema symptoms. Also, if you are breastfeeding a baby who has atopic eczema, you should seek medical advice before making any changes to your regular diet.
Some people choose to use complementary therapies to treat atopic eczema, such as aromatherapy (using essential oils for a therapeutic effect).
While these therapies may be helpful, it is important to remember that there is often a lack of evidence to show that they are effective in treating conditions such as atopic eczema. If you are considering trying a complimentary therapy for your child, you should speak to your GP first, to ensure that the therapy is safe to use.
Emollients are substances that help to soften and smooth your skin in order to keep it supple and moist. They are one of the most important forms of treatment for atopic eczema.
It is also important to keep your skin moisturised to prevent it from becoming further irritated.