Eczema in children2019-11-08T17:41:40+00:00

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Eczema (also called atopic dermatitis) is a widespread type of skin inflammation. It is a chronic condition that causes your child’s skin to become itchy, dry, red and cracked.

IN THESE VIDEOS, I EXPLAIN THE SYMPTOMS AND CAUSES OF ECZEMA – AND HOW TO TREAT IT

In the videos above, I explain things in a simple way that applies to most people who have eczema. Of course, no video or website can replace the value of a personalised consultation. At your consultation, you can have your skin carefully examined and get an expert recommendation to help you resolve your condition.

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Treatment enables people of all ages take control of their skin condition and get their life back

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How does eczema impact children on a day-by-day basis?

CHILDREN CAN BE MISERABLE WHEN THEY HAVE ECZEMA

Eczema can manifest in many negative ways

Your child might have dry, inflamed and cracked skin. Their skin might be itchy or painful. In some cases, their skin can thicken and change in colour in areas of intense inflammation.

Your child’s eczema can lead to a rash

Your child may at first experience intense itching. Their rash may appear later and it may have red bumps varying in size. Your child’s rash may feel like it’s burning. If they scratch it, it may ooze and become crusty.

Children can be miserable

They will rub the itchy skin, won’t feed as well, will awaken at night and may miss days of school.

Your child’s eczema can negatively affect you as well

Constant rubbing and waking at night can affect your child’s mood, behaviour, and school performance. As a parent, these issues can have a knock-on effect on your mood, ability to sleep through the night, and can result in anxiety concerning your child’s development.

Managing your child’s eczema isn’t easy, but I can provide relief

Most children will fortunately grow out of their eczema. It is essential, however, to maintain the skin clear with the prescribed treatments until that point, to prevent chronic skin changes caused by eczema.

What my patients love about my service

MY PATIENTS ARE MY BEST PROMOTERS

Please pass on my thanks to Dr Pratsou for her assessment on my continued taking of roaccutane.

She was completely right, I didn’t need a new course, I needed to move away from the drug. The creams she gave me and Cetaphil recommendation have meant my skin has been the best it’s ever been (ongoing and since I saw her) ALL SUMMER :))))) I’ve had zero problems…and I’m loving it.

Thank you once again.


Phillip, Acne

“Dear Dr Pratsou,

Following the consultation today I feel it appropriate to say thank you for your help in dealing with my rosacea.

On each occasion, I have visited your department I have noticed the kindness and cheeriness of all the staff I have encountered and particularly wanted to say that you made me feel at ease with your calmness and excellent manner.

All is much appreciated.”


Anne, Rosacea

“Thank you very much!!

You three were (and are) a great team!

I will remember you.

You made me feel comfortable.”


Ellie

“Tania,

Please pass to Dr Pratsou my thanks for her skilled work.

The wound is healing beautifully and now the stitches are out it looks as though it will be almost invisible once fully healed.”


Graham, Skin cancer removal

“Dear Dr Penelope, Rena & the team, (I can’t remember the nurse’s name who helped me during my 2 procedures at the Spire!)

I wanted to thank you for your support and help during a very difficult time. You guys do a wonderful job – and we are eternally grateful for your help.”


Clarissa, Skin cancer

“I would like to put on record how impressed I was with the operation you performed for the removal of the SCC on my neck. I cannot even see where the cut or the stitches were! I am indeed very grateful for the excellent work you do.”


Harry, Squamous Cell Carcinoma

“Dear Dr Pratsou,

I am very grateful to you for your diagnosis, recommended treatment and advice. Your letter to my GP sets out both the course of events, and your own analysis of probable condition and possible cause, clearly summarising our discussion.

I hope there will be no recurrence but I will certainly come back to you if there is.”


Ryan, Skin rash

“Dear Tania,

Please pass on my thanks to Dr Pratsou. I saw her this morning for a mole check. She was so lovely and reassuring. Please also thank the two nurses who assisted her during the mole removal procedure. I was very nervous, but they were very efficient, which meant I did not have too long to think about it, but most of all they were very kind. They kept me distracted and calm, which made a huge difference. Thank you also for your efficiency in both booking me in so quickly.”


James, Mole removal
Dear Ms. Pratsou,

I am writing to thank you for the care you have given me in the past few months. From the moment I walked into your consulting room with a lesion on my cheek, a lesion that I fully expected to be some sort of skin cancer (and it was), you have been thorough, reassuring, respectful and in every way professional.

You recognised that I had some insight into the condition of my skin and the procedures required to treat me. You listened to me. You projected expertise and compassion.

During the procedure to remove the growth you ensured that the atmosphere in the treatment room remained not only calm, but actually pleasant. Had it not been that you were excising a growth and sewing me up, I almost felt as if you, me and the nurse were at some sort of women’s discussion group. The time flew by. I had zero anxieties about the procedure and as we both know now, the wound healed flawlessly.

Thank you for your expertise and your communication skills and all round good nature. I feel very lucky.


Karen Tatom, Skin cancer removal

We have replaced the images and names of real patients who provided these testimonials to protect their privacy.

The first step to feeling in charge of your skin is to book an initial consultation

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FEEL IN CHARGE OF YOUR SKIN IN 3 EASY STEPS

STEP 1 – CALL US
STEP 2 – LET’S MEET
STEP 3 – RESOLUTION
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Give us a call on 441183735198 and we’ll help guide you towards a first appointment.

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I’ll see you and examine your skin before I recommend treatment. In some cases, I can begin treating your condition on the same day.

FEEL IN CHARGE OF YOUR SKIN

I’ll guide you down the road towards a resolution of your skin condition so that you can get back to normal life.

More information about your child’s eczema

FOR THOSE WHO WANT THE DETAILS

Eczema (also called atopic dermatitis) is a widespread type of skin inflammation. It is a chronic condition that causes your child’s skin to become itchy, dry, red and cracked.

Eczema affects 1 in every 5 individuals.

It tends to start in the first year of life. It is most common in children and tends to resolve in most cases but sometimes persists into adult life.

Symptoms of eczema include:

  • Dry, red, inflamed, cracked skin
  • Itchy skin and/or painful skin
  • Skin thickening and colour changes in areas of intense inflammation (for example, darker or lighter skin, especially in children with darker skin types)
  • Children can be miserable. They will rub the itchy skin, won’t feed as well, will awaken at night and may miss days of school
  • Eczema can lead to recurrent infections and hospital admissions.

Causes of eczema include:

Genetic predisposition

  • Eczema tends to run in families. Eczema, asthma and hay fever often go hand in hand. This constellation is known as atopy/atopic predisposition

Skin barrier

  • Children with atopic eczema are known to have a defective skin barrier. This results in poor retention of moisture and allows irritants, allergens and bugs to penetrate more easily.

Allergy

  • A food allergy could play a part in a minority of young children with moderate to severe eczema
  • Contact allergy- Eczema sufferers are more likely to develop allergies to external agents, resulting in what is known as contact allergy. If contact allergy is suspected, patch testing can be performed.

Environmental triggers

  • Triggers include irritants such as soap, cold weather/dry conditions, stress or illness.

I can usually determine that your child has eczema through clinical examination. That involves an examination of all affected areas to determine the type of eczema, the extent and the severity of the condition so that I can prescribe the most suitable treatment.

On occasion, I may offer you a skin biopsy to confirm the diagnosis. If I suspect a contact allergy, I will offer you patch testing to determine if any external agents are causing or exacerbating your child’s eczema.

Treatments of eczema include:

  • Emollients (moisturisers) to replenish moisture into the skin
  • Soap substitutes (‘bubbles are trouble’) to prevent further dryness and irritation
  • Active product to reduce inflammation, usually in the form of a steroid ointment or cream of appropriate strength
  • Steroid-sparing topical preparations such as Protopic (Tacrolimus) or Elidel (Pimecrolimus) can also be used
  • Special garments, worn next to the skin, encourage absorption of topical treatments and reduce itching
  • Zinc-based bandages and stockings are useful in thickened, itchy skin due to eczema
  • Often, a personalised treatment plan outlining the dose and frequency of application of this anti-inflammatory agent can be the key to controlling your child’s eczema.

Is it something my child is eating?

Food allergy is relevant in a minority of babies with severe eczema but is less likely to play a part in eczema in older children.

If you have any indication that your baby is reacting to newly introduced food types, I can recommend relevant tests and/or refer your child to the paediatric allergy clinic.

Children need a healthy and varied diet to grow and thrive. Any exclusion of food types should be performed under the direction of a paediatric allergist or dietician.

Will the treatments cure my child’s eczema?

Unfortunately, eczema is a chronic (that is, a persistent) condition. Therefore, the treatment I prescribe can control the problem and can be extremely effective, but I can’t eradicate the disease.

Most children will fortunately grow out of their eczema. It is essential, however, to maintain the skin clear with the prescribed treatments until that point, to prevent chronic skin changes caused by eczema.

What can I do to reduce the itching?

The most important thing is to follow a personalised treatment plan. That plan can include replenishing moisture to the skin with moisturisers, reducing inflammation with topical steroids or calcineurin inhibitors, and special garments next to the skin.

For children, keeping nails short, distraction, and mittens at night all can help to reduce itching and scratching.

Sedating antihistamines that your child can take 30 minutes before bed, also help with getting them to sleep and scratch less.

What’s causing my child’s eczema?

Genetic factors, as above, cause eczema. Irritants like soap, even water and cold, dry weather can make it worse. Occasionally food allergy may play a part in eczema in infants and young children, but will not be the sole reason for your child’s eczema.

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About the author

Dr Penelope Pratsou | Consultant Dermatologist

MBChB, MRCP (UK) (Dermatology)

I’m Dr Penelope Pratsou, a skilled independent Consultant Dermatologist based in Berkshire. I have specialist expertise in the diagnosis and management of all skin cancers, and in performing mole checks. I’m a trained skin surgeon and remove skin cancers, moles, skin tags, cysts and warts.

I also have invaluable experience in dealing with all skin conditions, from the common skin complaints of acne, rosacea, eczema and psoriasis, to the rarer and more complex skin problems, having seen it all through years of NHS work.

After I obtained my Membership to the Royal College of Physicians, I undertook rigorous specialist training in dermatology, before being appointed as a Consultant Dermatologist at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading. There, I helped set up and lead a busy clinic for the diagnosis and treatment of suspected skin cancer. I was also actively involved in supervising and training both dermatology and GP trainees.

Alongside my increasingly busy private practice, I have maintained an NHS practice in Oxford in order to continue to engage with challenging cases and to develop my specialist interest in skin allergy.

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