Eczema is a common dry skin condition that varies across individuals and comes in many different forms. It is even more common in children, affecting approximately 20% of school-aged children and 30% of infants. It can have a dramatic effect on the child and family’s quality of life and increase the risk of developing allergies to food and inhalant allergies. Allergies can sometimes play a significant role in the worsening of eczema. Identification and exclusion of food or environmental allergens can help improve eczema and reduce the need for conventional treatments such as steroid creams.
Symptoms can include one or more of the following:
- the skin being itchy, red and scaly
- becoming blistered, weeping, crusted and/or thickened
- when scratched, the skin can split and bleed, leaving it open to infections.
We offer a range of treatments for eczema, including advice on bathing, avoiding irritants. how to select an emollient that will work for your child, how to manage and prevent eczema flares and infections, appropriate use of steroids cream and also, where necessary steroid sparing creams. In cases of more severe eczema that does not respond to these treatments I will refer to Consultant Paediatric Dermatologists at the Portland. I work closely with Dr Tabi Leslie, Consultant Paediatric and Adult Dermatologist at the Portland Hospital.
We now know that children with eczema, particularly early onset (under 3 months), severe eczema (requiring steroid creams), have a 50% chance of developing a food allergy by one year of age. By proactive management of eczema we aim to reduce the development of new allergies. In children with eczema, we screen for food allergies so that we can try to prevent these from developing in the first place. We also provide advice on how to prevent eczema developing in the first place.