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Eczema Q&A with Dr. Eichenfield

Dr. Lawrence Eichenfield

We learned in July 2012 that a large number of Moms currently suffer from eczema themselves or have a child suffering from eczema. With so much information available, we want to help put accurate information into the hands of parents of children with eczema to help eliminate their frustration when dealing with their child’s condition. We have interviewed Dr. Lawrence Eichenfield, a nationally-recognized authority in pediatric dermatology, to find the answers Moms want. Read our interview below to find answers to some of your questions!
 

Q: What are the most common symptoms of eczema? How can I tell the difference between eczema and dry skin?
A: Eczema is usually quite itchy! While dry skin can be part of eczema, skin affected by eczema will show signs of inflammation including redness or oozing. Also, eczema often involves the face and outer surfaces of the arms and legs in babies, and the folds of the arms and knees in toddlers.

Q: What are some treatment options for eczema symptoms? How can I help prevent flare-ups before they occur?
A:  Treatments for eczema symptoms include excellent skin care, such as hydration with appropriate moisturizers, mild cleansers, and non-prescription or prescription topical anti-inflammation medicines to treat more serious inflammation. There are many ways to help prevent flares, including treating flares long enough to really "cool them down" adequately, continuing excellent skin care when the flare is over, and avoiding irritants or specific allergens.

Q: Is there any way I can track my or my child’s eczema to try to keep flare-ups under control?
A: The Eczema App is one option (www.theeczemaapp.com) to help mothers keep track of eczema flare-ups.  Most eczema can be controlled with a combination of good skin care and use of non-prescription or prescription medicines recommended by your child's doctor.  Assessing how dry the skin is, how much itching the child has, and if sleep is disturbed can be useful ways to help determine if the eczema is under control.

Q: What are some over-the-counter and at-home treatments for an infant who has eczema?
A: Some over-the-counter treatments that can help with eczema include good quality moisturizers, including several that are directed towards infant and eczema care, as well as 1% hydrocortisone.  If your child’s skin doesn't get better with 1% hydrocortisone after a few days, go see your pediatrician or a specialist. Your child's doctor may need to recommend another medicine.

Q: When should I consult my doctor about my eczema? Is there a prescription treatment for the condition?
A: If you aren't certain if your child has eczema or if your child’s eczema doesn't respond to good skin care measures and/or a few days of over-the-counter hydrocortisone, you should consult your doctor.  There are a number of prescription medications that may be effective and safe to use, and your physician can come up with a care plan specific to your child.


Q: Will my child always suffer from the symptoms of eczema?
A: Most children outgrow their eczema over time, though for some it may take many years.  And children shouldn't suffer from symptoms of eczema. With good skin care, non-prescription or prescription medicines recommended by your child's doctor, along with good education about eczema and ways to care for it, most eczema can be well controlled!

Moms and patients can learn more about eczema and gain access to support groups by visiting the National Eczema Association: www. nationaleczema.org

Bayer HealthCare is a client of Mom Central Consulting.
 

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