Atopic Dermatitis, more commonly referred to as eczema, is a skin condition that can occur in those of all ages, but it is most prevalent among children. Millions of dollars are spent each year treating the symptoms of AD, but the uncomfortable side effects of this debilitating condition are often simply treated with topical ointments that can cause long-term complications in exchange for short-term relief.
Atopic Dermatitis can surface quite early on in a child’s life. Though not all AD sufferers are young, more than 90% of those who are afflicted with the condition are under five years old. Some children present signs of AD at just a month or two old, often contributing to the following issues –
- An uncomfortable rash that creates scaly, itchy, dry skin patches
- Scalp and face rash – especially on an infant’s cheeks
- Rash that can scab and bubble up, oozing fluid
- Topical infections of the affected areas, frequently caused by an infant scratching for relief
- Significant trouble sleeping due to the pervasive itch
Who is at risk?
Keep in mind that there is no way to completely eliminate the risk of Atopic Dermatitis. But, doctors believe that there are some concrete, contributing factors that can increase the likelihood of an individual presenting signs of the condition. The following points can increase a child’s risk of suffering from AD:
- Gender – Studies have shown that females are slightly more likely to suffer from AD than are males.
- Place of residence – Those who reside in urban or developed areas are more likely to suffer from AD than those who live in less developed communities or nations. Colder climates can trigger AD in young children, too.
- Mother’s age – Children who are born to mothers who are of an advanced age often see a greater likelihood of AD during their first five years of life.
- Family – Of children who currently suffer from AD, more than 50% have a family history of hay fever, asthma, or severe allergies. Unfortunately, parents do pass it along to their children.
How to treat AD
Since there is no known cure for Atopic Dermatitis to date, treatment of the condition is the primary focus. The following treatment options can help reduce the itch, inflammation, and scaly skin that are the uncomfortable side effects of AD:
- Bathing – Limit bathing to twice a week for children who suffer from AD. Bath water should be warm, not hot – and never use bubble bath or fragrant bath additives. Pat kids dry after a bath, never wipe or aggressively towel off a child with AD.
- Moisturize – Apply topical moisturizers often, but prepare to conduct serious trial and error sessions to find the cream that works most effectively. Many parents of children who suffer from AD report that they often work through dozens of creams before an appropriate variant is found – often to the tune of hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.
- Trim nails – Children with AD often worsen the condition of their skin and can cause serious infections by scratching and introducing irritants into the skin. Keep nails short and even consider buffing them to eliminate sharp edges.
- Keep it humid – Colder climates often create additional AD concerns due to the dry air that is the result of constant on/off heating cycles. Consider running a humidifier all day long in the house, or at least in the child’s room at night.
- Wash clothes – Always was new clothing, and use a special “free and clear” detergent to minimize skin irritations.