Ditch the Itch

Ditch the Itch
If you child has red, sore, scaly skin that itches nonstop, don’t let him scratch those bumps.

If your child keeps scratching his dry, itchy skin, he may be experiencing a case of atopic dermatitis. This form of eczema is defined as a hypersensitive skin disorder affecting many people. It is common in children but can occur at any age. It is not infectious or contagious.

The exact cause is not known, but a combination of hereditary and environmental factors seem to be involved. The patient or some family members may have other hypersensitive conditions like asthma or hay fever.

Spotting Atopic Dermatitis

What doctors do:

  • Get a thorough medical history.
  • Perform skin biopsy, scratch test, patch test and blood test.

Signs and symptoms:

  • Dry, itchy skin
  • Cracks behind the ears
  • Rashes on cheeks, arms and legs

Treatment Options

Dermatologists will recommend any of the following:

  • Corticosteroid creams, as prescribed by a dermatologist
  • Weak steroid creams for mild eczema
  • Oral medication such as sedatives, antihistamines and sometimes antibiotics to control itching
  • Baths with diluted potassium permanganate
  • When all other measures fail, systemic corticosteroids may be prescribed for short periods

Secrets to Flawless Skin

  • Refrain from scratching skin.
  • File the fingernails short to minimize trauma from scratching.
  • Avoid hot and long showers or baths. Go for a quick lukewarm or a cool, refreshing bath.
  • Protect skin from excessive moisture, irritants and rough clothing.
  • Apply moisturizer immediately after bath.
  • Recognize and limit emotional stress.
  • Distract your child with activities to keep him from scratching.

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