Eczema Awareness Support and Education...Learn More
- What Is Eczema?
- For Adults
- For Parents
- For Kids
- Treating Eczema
- Will Your Child Have Eczema?
- Common Q & A
- Childhood Triggers
- Family, Friends, School & Childhood Eczema
- How To Manage Your Child's Eczema
Common Q & A
The following frequently asked questions aim to help you and your child better understand eczema:9
Where does eczema usually appear?
Babies and toddlers:
- Scalp, face, and neck
- Back of the arms
- Front of the legs
Children and teenagers:
- Inner creases of the elbows
- Back of the knees
- May also affect the hands, face and eyelids
At what age does childhood eczema occur?
Most (up to 75 per cent) of cases of childhood eczema appear before six months of age. Almost all cases (up to 90 per cent) occur by the age of five.
What is the incidence of childhood eczema in Canada?
12 to 25 per cent of Canadian children suffer from eczema.
What happens as my child gets older?
- Although some children may eventually outgrow their eczema, about 80 per cent will have dry, irritable skin throughout their lives. About 10 to 15 per cent of children will continue to have eczema as adults
- Eczema may reappear at any time, especially during times of stress
10 to 15 per cent of adults suffer from eczema
Why do some children suffer from eczema?
This life-altering condition tends to run in families where there is a history of eczema, asthma or hay fever. Not every child in a family will develop the condition, but if you have one child with eczema, there is a one in four chance your next child will have it. If both parents are affected, the risk is even greater. However, eczema can also affect children in families with no known history of eczema or other allergic conditions.
Is a child with eczema likely to suffer from other conditions?
Because eczema is closely related to asthma and hay fever, it is quite common for children with eczema to also suffer from one or both of these conditions. About 40 to 50 per cent of kids with eczema have asthma, hay fever, or both.
What is hay fever?
Hay fever is the name given to pollen allergy. Other terms for hay fever include "seasonal allergic rhinitis" or "pollinosis." Symptoms include:
- Repeated and prolonged sneezing
- Stuffy and watery nose
- Red, swollen and itchy eyes
- Itchy nose, throat and mouth
- Itchy ears or other ear problems
- Breathing difficulties at night due to a blocked nose
What is asthma?
Asthma is a chronic disease that inhibits airflow in and out of the lungs. People with asthma may respond to environmental factors, or triggers, that do not affect most people. In response to a trigger, an asthmatic's airways become narrowed and inflamed, making it difficult to breathe and resulting in wheezing and/or coughing.
Is it possible to catch eczema?
Eczema is definitely not contagious, so it cannot be passed from one person to another. If you have one child with eczema and others who do not have it, they are in no danger of 'catching' it.
Is childhood eczema caused by an allergy?
Childhood eczema has not been proven to be caused by an allergy; however, children with eczema do have hypersensitive skin that may react to allergens such as grass pollen, house dust mites and household pets. These allergens may aggravate the eczema and make it ‘flare up’.
Can certain foods cause childhood eczema?
While food is not a cause of eczema, in some children, certain foods can trigger ‘flare ups’. If this is the case with your child, the doctor may recommend that you consult an allergist and a dietitian. Making the right changes to your child’s diet may reduce the number or the severity of ‘flare ups’.
How can I stop my child from scratching?
Scratching is an instinctive reaction to the itch; it is particularly hard for babies and children to resist the urge to scratch. Unfortunately, scratching does not stop the itch. In fact, it breaks the natural barrier of the skin’s surface, aggravating the skin and making the condition worse. The skin then becomes sore and inflamed, eventually cracks and bleeds and may even become infected.
The only effective way to stop a child’s scratching is to stop the itch. You can help by applying a moisturizer or covering the affected area with a cool, damp towel. Medications applied to the skin, such as topical steroids, can also help to control inflammation, while newer therapies such as topical calcineurin inhibitors (TCIs) are effective in relieving the itch. Ask your doctor about the most appropriate treatment option for your child.
If you notice that your child develops a habit of scratching at a certain time of day or during a particular activity (such as watching television), try to break this habit by applying the moisturizer or a cool, damp towel to the skin at that time. It may also help to distract them by playing a game or starting a new activity.
9 Canadian Dermatology Association – Childhood eczema; What is Eczema
What Are The Odds?
Eczema 'flare ups'
Tips To Control The Itch
Keep Little Hands Busy