Infant eczema treatments
January 27, 2004 7:48 AM   Subscribe

What is a good treatment for infant eczema? [more inside]

About a month ago, my son got a small rash on his forehead. Now a month later it is covering a quarter of his face and he is scratching at it all the time. A trip to the doctors today confirmed that he has eczema and he has been prescribed hydrocortisone cream.

Is this the best treatment?

He's only 3 months old and I don’t know why, but I don’t want to use this stuff on him unless it really is the best thing.
posted by davehat to Health & Fitness (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
there are different schools of thought as to what really affects eczema. here are my suggestions from my own experiences, as a 21 year old with some pretty bad eczema (some may not apply to someone as young as your son):

-wash his clothes with cheer free and use bounce free dryer sheets.

-aveeno makes great lotion/soap/shampoo products for people with skin problems like these. i personally use cetaphil lotion. applying these perfume-free lotions really help in keeping the skin moist, which in turn gives your son less reason to itch.

-there is a list of foods to avoid that i'm sure you can find on the internet by searching. i don't really adhere to it though, because i love eating most of the items on the list.

-if his lips are always dry and get damaged like mine, use vaseline lip therapy. works wonders. chapstick and the other brands have too much crap in them and may actually worsen your son's problems.

-if his hands touch a cat/dog/or any other furry animal, be sure to wash them before he rubs his eyes. after that, IT'S ALL GONE TO HELL.

-warm/hot baths or showers will make him itch afterwards, soemtimes. colder water seems to work best.

-a quick fix to stop his itching when he starts is to apply something cold to that area, like a pop can or water-soaked paper towel. the temperature change is distracting somewhat. this works great when it's your face or eyelids itching.

-hydrocortisone never really helped long enough for me. what did help was diprolene and topicort (though not as powerful as diprolene). elidel, elocon, and other skin-applied medicines had no affect on me, for reasons i'm unsure of. all the medicines i suggested above have steroids i think, so i'm not sure if you'd be able to use them on your son. i don't think any of them are over the counter either. some oral medicines to consider are Claritin and Zyrtec. Claritin doesn't really work for me that well anymore, but Zyrtec seems to have a little effect, when i take it. Allegra does nothing for me, but my mom always tried to give it to me. once again, i think these are solutions geared towards older people.

i hope these few suggestions were able to help you and your son.
posted by lotsofno at 8:19 AM on January 27, 2004

We have known a couple of babies with eczema. I would second lotsofno's suggestions, but add the following:

Whenever we have to apply any kind of cream or ointment to our kids faces and/or hands, we wait until they are sleeping. They are less likely to rub it off then.

If the child is nursing, mom may need to cut back or eliminate common allergens and/or the things on the "food list" lotsofno mentioned. I would recommend starting with milk. Eliminate suspect foods for at least two weeks to see if the rash fades. One of my girlfriends had to cut out all dairy, wheat and corn! It was worth it, because now the child has far fewer allergy problems than his father does.

Once you have found the culprit, try to avoid it until after his birthday. Some kids take even longer to get over a food allergy, though. Good luck!
posted by whatnot at 8:59 AM on January 27, 2004

The little tyke I babysit for started getting eczema on his face when his parents started incorporating formula into his diet. They switched him to special soy-based formula (not soymilk, soy formula), and the problem cleared right up.
posted by bonheur at 9:48 AM on January 27, 2004

I'll add to the milk (cow) avoidance & add wheat avoidance to Mom's diet if possible. (Bread substitute = Rye/Rye sourdough, pasta &c. sub. = rice). My g/f's ear eczema cleared when she got to Asia & cut down on those two altho' she still has milk in coffee & a couple of slices of toast @ breakfast when she can.
posted by i_cola at 9:59 PM on January 27, 2004

Speaking personally, calendula cream was the most soothing for my eczema - it's a homeopathic remedy but is genuinely good.

Also, I'd suggest leaving out the soy milk for now. You don't want to be introducing new variables into this until other routes have been tried.
posted by skylar at 4:24 AM on January 28, 2004

Sitting with my 3 month old son on my lap, I'm facing much the same problem, though my GP (local doctor) offered some useful advice. He has only prescribed Daktarin (an anti-fungal cream) for now, to use on his eczema and in his 'folds' (he is in all other respects a perfectly chubby little boy). This has the effect of soothing the itching, and it has stopped him rubbing his face and head so much (he had some nasty scratches).

He also advised NOT worrying too much about it at this age. Essentially, at around about this stage the baby has just about lost all the hormones flooding his body from pregnancy and birth, and his own endocrine system is asserting control. This changeover is not always perfect and often results in eczema in this sort of time frame, which usually resolves itself within a few months. This may not apply if you have a family history of allergies of course, but so far we have no reason to doubt him (and we are lucky that he is a wonderful GP).
posted by barnsoir at 7:06 AM on January 28, 2004

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