Eczema is a term used for a group of conditions that cause inflammation or irritation of the skin. The most common form of Eczema is atopic, which refers to a group of diseases which often go hand in hand with asthma and hay fever. It is very common in children, as opposed to adults, but children often outgrow it by the age of 10. Nevertheless, having a child with eczema can be both frustrating and painful to watch, as it often causes discomfort, itchiness and an unsightly rash in the affected are.
The exact cause of eczema is not really known, however it is thought to be linked to an overactive response of the immune system to an irritant. Eczema is also common in families with a history of allergies and asthma. Eczema is not an allergy in itself, but is triggered off by allergies. It can also be triggered off by other factors, such as weather conditions or stress. If you suspect your child has eczema, confirm this with your doctor, who will most likely do some tests to see if he or she has any allergies. As mentioned, your child’s eczema will usually go away by itself, but in the meantime, here are some natural remedies you can try and things you can do to prevent or alleviate flare ups.
Eczema is often exacerbated by lack of moisture, so keeping the body as hydrated as possible is vital. This means having your child drink loads of water, as well as keeping the skin moisturised. Moisturise the entire body as often as possible, 2 - 3 times a day-especially after a bath or shower.
Here are some natural products you can use to moisturise:
Almond oil-nourishes and relieves itching.
Jojoba oil has a molecular structure close to that of the natural oil of our skin, so it absorbs easily and doesn’t leave skin feeling greasy.
Hemp seed oil is rich in essential fatty acids which can provide relief to itching.
Evening primrose oil is rich in unsaturated fatty acids which repair skin. It’s great for eczema and healing any skin damage.
Chamomile oil is an antibacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory, so it can greatly reduce the effects of eczema.
Calendula oil is very popular oil used to treat eczema. It has great skin properties and can be used for bruises, cuts, eczema and dry skin.
Avoid frequent baths and showers, even if it does help relieve itching, it can dry out the skin. Baths and showers should be warm, not hot.
Avoid scented soaps-if possible use mild soaps or even non soap products. There are many natural heath stores and beauty brands where you can get these.
Wash your child gently-avoid scrubbing-and pat your child’s skin dry rather than rubbing vigorously.
Clothes should be kept loose and comfortable. Natural, non synthetic fibres should be used as often as possible.
Keep your child’s fingernails short, to minimise any damage caused by scratching. You may also want to invest in soft gloves for night time.
Assess your child’s diet. Try to keep it as healthy as possible and, if possible, stick to organic, non processed foods.
When eczema flares up, it can be unbearable to both you and your child. The discomfort it causes is heartbreaking for parents, and awful for children. Luckily, there are many ways to manage it, and it normally sorts itself out eventually.
Do you have any tips to help out parents who have kids with eczema?