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Eczema in children may develop due to contact with an allergen or be the result of irritation. Eczema skin lesions most often take the form of erythematous eruptions accompanied by exfoliation. Eczema can manifest itself in other ways as well. The basis for the treatment of eczema in both children and adults is proper diagnosis. Find out how children's eczema manifests itself and what treatment options are available.

Eczemais common in younger patients. Although the term eczema is not exactly a medically correct term, many people still use it. The term eczema covers non-infectious inflammatory skin diseases - mainly contact dermatitis. However, not only this disease entity is sometimes called eczema.

Eczema - what is it? Which disease entities does it include?

The word eczema comes from the Latin word eczema. This word, although often used in colloquial speech, is not a precise medical term. Eczema is defined as a group of various dermatological diseases characterized by the presence of eczema lesions on the skin. These conditions may be allergic, but not always.

Under the word eczema, we often mean medical conditions such as:

  • contact eczema- when we say it - we usually mean this condition. In the case of this disease entity, eczema changes appear on the skin under the influence of contact with a given allergen - for example, metals (such as cadmium or chromium), but also plastics or cosmetics,
  • sweat eczema- eczema changes may arise due to contact with allergens, but the cause of this disease may also be the body's response to mycosis (located in a different place than eczema lesions),
  • occupational eczema- it arises due to contact with metals and plastics with which the patient usually comes into contact at the workplace;
  • seborrheic eczema- locates in places such as the scalp, face, behind-the-ear area, as well as the area of ​​the sternum and the interscapular area. It can be associated with seborrhea, but also fungal infections or hormonal disorders,
  • atopic dermatitis (AD)- this is itchronic, allergic recurrent dermatosis that typically presents itself in early childhood. When parents think of childhood eczema, they also often mean atopic dermatitis.

Eczema in children - causes

The reasons for the appearance of eczema changes on the child's skin include:

  • cosmeticsused to care for the baby's skin (often those containing lanolin),
  • antisepticsexternally applied,
  • some topically appliedantibiotics(e.g. neomycin),
  • metalssuch as chrome and nickel (nickel is often found in buttons that come into direct contact with a child's skin). It is also worth paying attention to cob alt and nickel, which are found in orthodontic appliances. An allergic reaction to these metals may cause perioral inflammation,
  • chronic irritation- we distinguish the so-called contact dermatitis from irritation. It can develop after prolonged contact of a child's skin with irritating substances such as urine, faeces or some cosmetics. Irritant contact eczema is also often called diaper dermatitis.

Be aware that irritation eczema predisposes you to an allergic response - i.e. to allergic contact dermatitis.

Why is this happening? Chronic irritation of the skin leads to the damage of the natural barrier, and thus - easier penetration into the skin of various types of allergens.

Eczema in children - symptoms

Eczema-like skin lesions typically appear as erythematous eruptions with exfoliation . Sometimes we can also deal with the presence ofexudative papules, vesicles and erosions, i.e. epidermal defects .

These foci are poorly separated from the environment (ie from he althy, unchanged skin).Skin changes may be accompanied by unpleasant itching .

In allergic contact dermatitis, lesions can occur in all sorts of locations. Depending on where the skin came into contact with the allergen.

Occupied can be, for example:

  • hairy scalp, face, e.g. in the case of using certain cosmetics, hair dyes,
  • torso - in response to clothes, metals found in zippers, buttons,
  • neck - in case of reaction to substances found in e.g. scarves, scarves, perfumes.

These are just examples of certain localizations that skin lesions canoccur anywhere in contact with an allergenic substance.

Allergic eczema typically begins at the age of 2-3- it results from greater exposure to allergens in this period, causing symptoms.

Irritable eczema, on the other hand, develops regardless of age- this type of contact dermatitis is not allergic and is often called irritation eczema.

Eczema in children - diagnosis

The presence of skin lesions that correspond to contact dermatitis is not sufficient for diagnosis. The basis of diagnostics are patch tests.

This test involves placing specific allergens on a tissue paper and sticking the flap to the skin for 72 hours. The test result is read after 48 and 72 hours.

We have a positive result when we observe the presence of an erythema or eczema at the point of skin contact with a given allergen.

It is also important to differentiate between allergic and non-allergic (irritation) contact dermatitis.

In the case ofallergic contact dermatitis , we observe an increase in the reaction after removing the test substance from the skin, which does not occur in the case of irritation eczema.

Moreover, the severity of the reaction in the case ofirritation eczemadepends on the time of exposure to a given allergen and its dose - which is not observed in the case of allergic eczema.

Another differentiating feature is that the reaction of allergic contact dermatitis usually exceeds the point of contact with the allergen (more of the skin is occupied). We do not see this in the case of irritation eczema.

Eczema in children - treatment

In the case of contact dermatitis (both allergic and non-allergic), the following are used:

  • topical steroids,
  • ointments with urea and salicylic acid - they are used in the case of skin lesions characterized by increased keratosis, these substances have a softening and exfoliating effect,
  • antihistamines - help to control the troublesome itching.

In the case of eczema in children, topical steroids should be used with caution, only under the supervision of a doctor and according to his recommendations.

In the event of irritation eczema, such as diaper dermatitis, remember to change diapers frequently and properly care for the genital area (especially drying and gentle cleaning).cleansing).

Avoid using diapers and diapers made of synthetic materials.

If our child develops skin changes that concern us, it is worth consulting a family doctor who will decide whether specialist care (dermatological and sometimes allergological) and further diagnostics are necessary.

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