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Eczema Causes and Treatment: What You You Need to Know

Updated: Apr 18

Eczema is very common from infancy to adolescence. It is often itchy and uncomfortable for both the child and frustrating for the parents, as it will constantly improve and return. Trying to get a young children not to scratch themselves to oblivion is equally arduous.

Our Paediatrician Expert, Dr Lexi Frydenberg, tells us everything we need to know as parents, plus some handy tips for prevention and treatment.

What is Eczema?

  • Eczema is a common skin condition.

  • The affected skin is dry, red and itchy.

  • Sometimes these areas of skin can become cracked, weepy and then scab over.

  • Eczema is not contagious!

Signs and Symptoms

  • Babies with eczema usually have a red, dry rash. The rash may be on their scalp, body, arms and legs or behind their ears.

  • The rash is very itchy and may keep them awake at night.

  • In Toddlers, the eczema is often in the skin creases around the knees, wrist, elbow and ankles.

What causes eczema?

The cause of eczema is not known. However, there are some known triggers of eczema, including:

  • Being overheated with clothing, blankets, and heaters.

  • Dryness of the skin

  • Irritation from soaps, detergents or fabrics

  • Food allergies or intolerances

  • Environments allergens, such as dust, pollen or fur

  • Viruses and other common infections

Eczema relief

Scratching can be the most irritating symptom of eczema; however, it can make eczema worse for relief. Instead, try:

  • Applying a cool, wet town to the itchy area for 5-10 minutes. Remove the towel and use a thick layer of moisturizer.

  • Wear a damp t-shirt or singlet underneath clothing is an excellent way to reduce the itch and redness.

  • Keeping your child's fingernails short and clean may also prevent worsening symptoms.

Eczema treatment

Take your child to the GP if:

  • Their eczema is not getting better after two days of regular treatments

  • They are showing signs of infection,n weepy, crusted and broken areas of eczema

  • You are concerned about your child's health or skin for any reason.

Depending on the severity, your doctor may prescribe a cortisone-based cream or ointments or recommend eczema baths.

Always seek medical advice before using over-the-counter cortisone treatments on your child.

Our Paediatrician Expert, Dr Lexi Frydenberg, wrote this article. Dr Lexi Frydenberg has numerous Expert videos as part of our Parents You've Got This Parenting Portal.

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Baby with Eczema

Disclaimer: The information in this article is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended to substitute advice provided by your doctor or other healthcare professionals. The author of this information has made a considerable effort to ensure the information is in-line with current guidelines, codes and accepted clinical evidence at time of writing, is up-to-date at time of publication and relevant to Australian readers. The opinions and thoughts expressed in this article reflects the view of the author only and not the broader medical profession or her places of work. The author accepts no responsibility for any inaccuracies, information perceived as misleading, or the success of any treatment regimen detailed in this information.  We recommend you always consult a qualified health practitioner for individualised advice.


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