Eczema Action Plan

  • If your child enjoys taking a bath, allow him to soak daily in lukewarm water for 10-15 minutes. If your child does not enjoy taking a bath or if you feel that water irritates his skin, bathe only every two-three days. Use a gentle, hypoallergenic cleanser.

  • After the bath, pat the skin dry, leaving it damp to touch.

  • Prescription medications or steroids can be applied to areas that are red, rough and itchy. These medications should be applied in a thin layer twice a day, for no longer than one week at a time unless instructed otherwise by your doctor.

  • Apply a moisturizer (preferably a cream or ointment) to the child’s entire face and body. This can be repeated as often as needed. The best time to apply is within a few minutes after a bath.

    • Some recommended brands: Vaseline, Cerave topical cream or healing ointment, Aquaphor.

  • Continue prescription medications like steroids only until the red, rough rash is cleared.

  • Remember, eczema is a chronic condition so the rash will likely recur. You may restart the prescription medicine if this happens.

  • Antihistamines can help with itching and poor sleep due to eczema.

    • Give benadryl (see our weight-based dosing chart here) 30 minutes prior to bedtime when your child is itchy.

  • Dry air and air from the heater can exacerbate eczema, especially in the winter months. A humidifier or vaporizer can help reintroduce moisture into the air.

  • While many children with eczema have food allergies, only rarely do the food allergies actually cause the eczema. Speak to your doctor if you notice a consistent flare in eczema after eating certain foods.

  • Oozing, drainage, pus bumps, and yellow crust can indicate the skin is infected. Speak to your doctor right away if you are concerned about a skin infection.

Adapted from Meghan A Tellefaon et al. Pediatrics 2014; 134e1735-e1744

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