Home Health Eczema in Children: Diagnosis, Treatment, and Care

Eczema in Children: Diagnosis, Treatment, and Care

Eczema in Children: Diagnosis, Treatment, and Care


Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a common skin condition that affects children worldwide. Characterized by dry, itchy, and inflamed skin, eczema can cause significant discomfort and impact the quality of life for both children and their families. Understanding the symptoms, diagnosis, treatment options, and proper care is essential for managing this chronic condition effectively. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into everything you need to know about eczema in children.

Understanding Eczema in Children

Eczema is a chronic inflammatory skin condition that typically begins in early childhood. While the exact cause is unknown, it is believed to result from a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Children with a family history of eczema, asthma, or hay fever are more likely to develop the condition.

Symptoms of Eczema

The symptoms of eczema can vary in severity and may change over time. Common signs and symptoms include:

  • Dry, Sensitive Skin: The skin may appear dry and feel rough to the touch.
  • Itching: Intense itching, which can be particularly troublesome at night.
  • Red, Inflamed Patches: These patches may appear on the face, neck, hands, feet, and the insides of the elbows and knees.
  • Oozing and Crusting: In severe cases, the skin may ooze fluid and form crusts.
  • Thickened, Leathery Skin: Chronic scratching can lead to thickening of the skin, known as lichenification.

Triggers of Eczema

Various factors can trigger or worsen eczema symptoms in children. Identifying and avoiding these triggers can help manage the condition effectively. Common triggers include:

  • Irritants: Soaps, detergents, shampoos, and certain fabrics can irritate the skin.
  • Allergens: Pollen, dust mites, pet dander, and certain foods can trigger eczema flare-ups.
  • Temperature and Humidity: Extreme temperatures and changes in humidity can exacerbate symptoms.
  • Stress: Emotional stress can contribute to the worsening of eczema symptoms.
  • Infections: Bacterial, viral, or fungal infections can trigger flare-ups.

Diagnosing Eczema in Children

Diagnosing eczema in children typically involves a thorough medical history and physical examination. In some cases, additional tests may be required to rule out other conditions or identify specific triggers.

Medical History

During the initial consultation, the doctor will ask about the child’s symptoms, family history, and potential triggers. It is essential to provide detailed information about the onset and pattern of symptoms, any known allergies, and previous treatments.

Physical Examination

The doctor will examine the child’s skin, looking for characteristic signs of eczema, such as dry, red, and inflamed patches. The distribution and appearance of these patches can help differentiate eczema from other skin conditions.

Additional Tests

In some cases, additional tests may be necessary to confirm the diagnosis or identify specific allergens. These tests may include:

  • Skin Prick Test: This test involves applying small amounts of potential allergens to the skin and observing for an allergic reaction.
  • Patch Test: This test involves applying patches containing potential allergens to the skin and monitoring for a reaction over a few days.
  • Blood Tests: Blood tests may be used to check for elevated levels of IgE antibodies, which are associated with allergic reactions.

Treatment Options for Eczema in Children

While there is no cure for eczema, several treatment options can help manage the symptoms and reduce the frequency and severity of flare-ups. The treatment plan will depend on the child’s age, the severity of the condition, and the presence of any underlying triggers or allergies.

Topical Treatments

Topical treatments are often the first line of defense in managing eczema symptoms. These treatments include:

  • Moisturizers: Regularly applying moisturizers helps keep the skin hydrated and reduces dryness and itching. It is essential to choose fragrance-free and hypoallergenic products.
  • Topical Corticosteroids: These anti-inflammatory creams or ointments help reduce redness, swelling, and itching. They are available in various strengths, and a doctor will prescribe the appropriate potency based on the severity of the eczema.
  • Topical Calcineurin Inhibitors: These non-steroidal creams or ointments help reduce inflammation and itching. They are often used when corticosteroids are not effective or suitable for long-term use.
  • Topical Antibiotics: If there is a secondary bacterial infection, topical antibiotics may be prescribed to treat the infection and prevent further complications.

Systemic Treatments

In severe cases of eczema that do not respond to topical treatments, systemic treatments may be considered. These treatments include:

  • Oral Corticosteroids: These medications help reduce severe inflammation and itching. They are usually prescribed for short-term use due to potential side effects.
  • Immunosuppressants: Medications such as cyclosporine or methotrexate may be prescribed to suppress the immune system and reduce inflammation. These drugs require close monitoring due to potential side effects.
  • Biologic Therapies: Newer treatments, such as dupilumab, target specific components of the immune system to reduce inflammation and itching. These medications are typically used for moderate to severe eczema that does not respond to other treatments.


Phototherapy, or light therapy, involves exposing the skin to controlled amounts of ultraviolet (UV) light. This treatment can help reduce inflammation and itching and improve the overall appearance of the skin. Phototherapy is usually administered in a medical setting and requires multiple sessions.

Lifestyle and Home Remedies

In addition to medical treatments, certain lifestyle changes and home remedies can help manage eczema symptoms and reduce flare-ups. These include:

  • Bathing Practices: Short, lukewarm baths with gentle, fragrance-free cleansers can help keep the skin clean and hydrated. Avoid hot water and harsh soaps, which can strip the skin of its natural oils.
  • Moisturizing: Apply moisturizers immediately after bathing to lock in moisture. Reapply throughout the day as needed.
  • Avoiding Triggers: Identify and avoid known triggers, such as certain fabrics, harsh soaps, and allergens.
  • Clothing Choices: Choose soft, breathable fabrics like cotton and avoid rough or scratchy materials.
  • Keeping Nails Short: Keep the child’s nails trimmed short to minimize damage from scratching.
  • Stress Management: Encourage activities that help reduce stress, such as yoga, meditation, or deep breathing exercises.

Caring for a Child with Eczema

Caring for a child with eczema involves a combination of medical treatments, lifestyle changes, and emotional support. Here are some tips to help manage the condition and improve the child’s quality of life:

Establish a Skincare Routine

Consistency is key when managing eczema. Establish a daily skincare routine that includes gentle cleansing, moisturizing, and the application of any prescribed treatments. Encourage the child to participate in the routine to help them feel in control of their condition.

Monitor for Signs of Infection

Eczema can make the skin more susceptible to infections. Monitor for signs of infection, such as increased redness, warmth, swelling, or oozing. If you suspect an infection, seek medical attention promptly.

Educate and Support

Educate the child and their caregivers about eczema, its triggers, and how to manage symptoms. Provide emotional support and encourage open communication about how the condition affects their daily life.

Create a Comfortable Environment

Make the home environment as comfortable as possible for the child. Use humidifiers to maintain optimal humidity levels, keep the home clean and free of allergens, and ensure the child has access to soft, breathable clothing and bedding.


Eczema in children can be challenging to manage, but with the right diagnosis, treatment, and care, it is possible to reduce symptoms and improve the quality of life for affected children. By understanding the triggers, implementing a consistent skincare routine, and working closely with healthcare professionals, parents and caregivers can help their children lead healthy, comfortable lives.For parents seeking expert care for their child’s eczema, Raj Hospitals in Ranchi offers comprehensive dermatological and paediatric services. With some of the best dermatologists in Ranchi and experienced paediatricians in Ranchi, Raj Hospitals provides specialized care to address the unique needs of children with eczema.