Young children are especially prone to skin conditions, such as atopic dermatitis, more commonly known as eczema.
Atopic dermatitis, or eczema, is an itchy, dry inflammation of the skin. It is the most common type of skin disease in children and is not infectious. A child with atopic dermatitis has sensitive skin which is irritated easily.
Atopic eczema is a genetic disorder associated with sensitive skin, and sufferers often have a family history of eczema, asthma or hay fever. There are many external factors that may aggravate eczema, but it is usually not caused by any specific allergy and allergy tests are not helpful.
The chlorinated water in swimming pools may irritate the skin, but seawater does not have this effect.
In most patients, eczema appears as redness, scaling and swelling on the face (Figure 1), limbs (Figure 2) and trunk. The folds in the skin may be more severely affected. The condition is very itchy. Crusting may be present when eczema becomes infected (Figures 3 and 4).
Figure 1 Atopic eczema and infection
Figure 2 Atopic dermatitis involving the wrists
Figure 3 Atopic dermatitis involving the elbow creases
Figure 4 Atopic dermatitis involving the back of the knee
Aggravating factors to avoid include:
The tendency to sensitive skin will remain with your child into the teenage years. However, eczema will gradually improve as he/she gets older, and only a few people continue to have troublesome eczema in adult life.
There is no single medication that will cure eczema. However, it is possible to control the condition effectively by using a simple treatment plan:
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This article was last reviewed on
Friday, September 15, 2023
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