Childhood Eczema

Eczema is a group of skin irritations that cause rashes, blisters, and discomfort. Atopic dermatitis is the most common condition going by the name “eczema.” Eczema is more common among babies and children, affecting some  10-20% of kids in the U.S. and only about 3% of adults. Children often outgrow eczema, but some people continue to have outbreaks all their lives.

Eczema is not contagious. It may have a genetic component; it tends to show up more often in families with a history of allergies, and many kids with eczema also have asthma or hay fever.

Flare-ups can be triggered by many things. Identifying your particular triggers and avoiding them can be a helpful approach to managing eczema.

  • Irritants like soaps, detergents, and household chemicals may trigger episodes of eczema.
  • Allergens such as pets, dust mites, or mold can be a problem. Food allergens associated with eczema include nuts, dairy products, eggs, soy, and wheat.
  • Cold or hot temperatures and stress can also be triggers.

Warm baths, moisturizer, loose clothing, and avoiding your particular eczema triggers can help reduce the symptoms of eczema. There is no known cure for eczema, but millions of Americans live with the disease. Talk with your health care provider about treatments and lifestyle changes that can help you.

 Return to the Childhood Illness Guide.