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Prevention and daily care of Eczema

Is atopic dermatitis preventable?

Some researches have found that breastfed babies may have a later onset of atopic dermatitis and that if breastfeeding mothers do the following, it will help prevent their babies from developing atopic dermatitis or minimize the risk (for babies with relatively high risk only):﹕

  • Breastfeed babies for at least four to six months.
  • Provide food supplements (including cow’s milk formulae) only after babies turn six months old.
  • If possible, provide peanuts, fish, shellfish and nuts when babies are two years old.
  • Avoid any known substances that may trigger atopic dermatitis.

Some children will get better before ten. But not all patients will. Zero exposure to any known allergens and triggers will help speed up the recovery.

Prevention of eczema:

  • Do not use water that is too hot when showering. Hot water will wash away the natural oil on the skin and will stimulate the immunity system.
  • Apply more emollients; choose appropriate emollients. Costly emollients are not necessarily the best. Consider the type of skin first. It is better to buy those with no fragrance or irritants added.
  • Avoid exposure to irritating substances such as alcohol or cleaning agents. These chemical substances are usually irritating. If the skin is damaged, they may cause skin burning sensation or worsen the conditions of eczema.
  • Take note of weather changes. Warm and humid weather may trigger eczema. Keep good ventilation during summer. Put on cotton and loose fitting clothes. Apply more emollients to keep the skin hydrated during dry winter. This improves the conditions caused by dry and itchy skin.
  • Stress has an impact on the immunity system. Reducing stress may help reduce the chances of relapse.
  • Avoid dust mites and other allergens.

Daily care for eczema

Tips for parents:

  • When carrying children, do not wear clothes made of wool or rough fibres.
  • Avoid the use of scented cosmetics, soap or cleaning agents.
  • Keep indoor humidity at a comfortable level. Humidity too high or too low may worsen atopic dermatitis.
  • Minimize indoor allergens such as pets, smoke or dust mites.
  • Use non-woolen beddings.
  • Children with atopic dermatitis may tend to feel inferior. Let them play sports or pick up a hobby to help boost their confidence. Minimize stress on children.
  • Do not allow children to keep long fingernails. If their fingers are sensitive, use a nail file.
  • Provide thick cotton gloves and socks for children to minimize the effect of scratching.
  • Put a cotton cover on car seats to prevent children from sweating and getting itchy.
  • Provide children with 100% cotton clothes, especially at night or when it is hot.
  • It is best to install an air-conditioner in their room in summer as hot weather and sweating will trigger atopic dermatitis.
  • Let young children wear trousers to avoid exposure to carpets when they crawl on the floor.
  • When there is an flare, put cream on affected areas and cover them with sterile gauze. This will make children feel better. Seek medical advice promptly.
  • Explain to teachers and carers at school the conditions of your children to avoid discrimination.
  • Help children put on cotton gloves when making artwork.
  • Inform teachers of the children’s diet needs and food to avoid.
  • If you think your children have food allergies, ask your doctor to do a skin test.
  • Record in detail what they have eaten and the symptoms of skin allergies. Show these records to your doctors when determining whether the children need to change their diet.
  • You would need to spend much time on planning the life of a child with atopic dermatitis. Get a doctor whom you can talk to easily. It is most important to find one who is willing to answer all your questions.
  • Wash clothes with gentle soap. Rinse at least twice.
  • Do not use bleacher or fabric softeners.
  • Wash thoroughly any new clothes or beddings to remove chemical substances added during production.