Atopic Dermatitis In Children
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Atopic dermatitis is an itchy, red skin rash. It is also called eczema. It is common in children between the ages of 2 months and 5 years. Your child is more likely to have atopic dermatitis if he also has asthma or allergies. Your child could have flare-ups for the rest of his life.
- Steroid cream: You may need a doctor's order for this medicine. Apply this cream to your child's skin to reduce redness, pain, and swelling. Ask your primary healthcare provider what steroid cream to use and how to use it.
- Antihistamines: This medicine is used to reduce itching.
- Antibiotics: This treats or prevents an infection caused by bacteria. Your child may need this if he has a skin infection.
- Oral steroids: This may be given to reduce your child's redness, pain, and swelling if his atopic dermatitis is very bad.
- Give your child's medicine as directed: Call your child's primary healthcare provider if you think the medicine is not helping or if he has side effects. Tell your child's primary healthcare provider if your child takes any vitamins, herbs, or other medicines. Keep a list of the medicines he takes. Include the amounts, and when and why he takes them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits.
- Do not give aspirin to children under 18 years of age: Your child could develop Reye syndrome if he takes aspirin. Reye syndrome can cause life-threatening brain and liver damage. Check your child's medicine labels for aspirin, salicylates, or oil of wintergreen.
Manage your child's atopic dermatitis:
- Reduce scratching: Your child's symptoms get worse when he scratches. Trim his fingernails short so he does not tear his skin when he scratches. Put cotton gloves or mittens on his hands while he sleeps.
- Keep his skin moist: Rub thick cream or petroleum jelly into your child's skin. Do this right after a bath or shower when his skin is still damp. Apply cream as many times as needed each day to keep his skin moist and soft.
- Use bandages: You may be told to cover your child's rash with dry bandages. This helps the cream sink into his skin. It may also prevent your child from scratching.
- Give him fewer baths: Let your child take a bath or shower in warm (not hot) water for 20 minutes or less. Use mild bar soap. Teach him how to gently pat his skin dry. Help him rub in skin cream within 3 minutes after his bath or shower.
- Choose cotton clothes: Dress him in loose-fitting clothes made from 100% cotton. Avoid wool.
- Humidify your home: Use a humidifier to add moisture to the air in your home.
- Reduce allergens at home: Your child should avoid contact with anything that seems to make his dermatitis worse, such as plants or animals.
- Use mild soap and detergent: Ask your primary healthcare provider which mild soaps, detergents, and shampoos are best for your child. Do not use fabric softener.
Follow up with your child's primary healthcare provider or dermatologist as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
Contact your child's primary healthcare provider or dermatologist if:
- Most of your child's skin is red, swollen, painful, and covered with scales.
- Your child's rash develops bloody, painful crusts.
- Your child's skin blisters and oozes white or yellow pus.
- Your child often wakes up at night because his skin is itchy.
- You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.
Return to the emergency department if:
- Your child develops a fever, red streaks going up his arm or leg, or his rash gets more swollen, red or hot.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.
Learn more about Atopic Dermatitis In Children (Aftercare Instructions)
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