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Eczema in winter – four tips to help your child

One in five children under 2 years of age has eczema — an inflammatory skin condition that causes the skin to become itchy, red and dry. Typically, the condition flares up from time to time and then subsides. In winter, the combination of dry air and low humidity can dry out the skin, potentially triggering a flare up. 3 Other factors in winter time, such as indoor heating, can also add to the risk of a flare.

Here are a few things you can do to help your child feel more comfortable this winter:

1. Moisturise regularly

  • Apply moisturisers liberally and regularly, particularly after a shower or bath to help retain moisture.
  • Apply moisturisers even when your child does not have areas of inflamed skin.
  • Consider an ointment or thick cream for very dry skin as they are more hydrating than lotions.

2. Dress comfortably 

  • Avoid overheating by dressing in loose fitting layers that can be easily removed if your child becomes too hot.
  • Consider dressing with clothes made from natural, breathable fabrics like cotton.
  • Avoid wearing wool and other fabrics that can scratch or irritate the skin.

3. Turn down the heat

  • Keep an eye on the thermostat to prevent overheating and ensure children are not sitting or playing too close to heat sources.
  • Consider using a humidifier in dry or heated rooms to keep the air moist.

4. Keep bath time short and sweet

  • Hot water and long baths or showers can dry the skin out.
  • Keep your shower or bath short and not too hot.
  • Avoid scrubbing the skin, and choose gentle cleansers or soap substitutes rather than harsh soaps that dry out the skin.
  • Pat dry after bathing or showering, and apply moisturisers while the skin is still damp to keep moisture in the skin.

The information provided in this article is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice. If you have any questions about the topics discussed, please speak to a healthcare professional.