How to Stop Skin Asthma

Skin asthma in children

Skin asthma (also known as atopic eczema or dermatitis) is an itchy, chronic skin condition that can develop early in childhood, and may persist until adult life. Some kids may also develop allergic rhinitis and even bronchial asthma. These two conditions, like skin asthma, involve hyper-reactivity of the person's immune system. All three often have a genetic component.

Parents should identify the trigger factors of their child, because there are times when the child is symptom-free. If exposed to trigger factors, the condition may flare up and require medication.  Severe outbreaks can have adverse effects on his daily activities and may also cause disruption to his schooling and sleep, and even affect his psychological and emotional well-being. After identifying the trigger factors, teach your child, family members and caregivers to avoid these at all costs.

Dermatologists should be consulted to assess the severity of the reaction. He will guide you as to initial remedies, depending on the degree of the flare up.  Self-medication is not recommended since these may even worsen the skin flare up.

Usually, emollients in the form of creams, lotions, and gels keep moisture in, and protect the commonly dry skin of patients with dermatitis. These are mostly over-the-counter preparations. These also keep irritants away by forming a barrier between the skin and the potential trigger factors. So, make sure also that you have a constant supply of these products at home, so that when the need arises, you wouldn't have to rush to the nearest drugstore just to buy the item.

If the break out is more severe, the dermatologist may prescribe the use of mild but potent corticosteroids to be applied on the skin one to two times daily. Treatment is usually extended for about 48 hours. If the skin gets infected due to scratching, the doctor might prescribe additional antibiotics.  Some kids respond to anti-allergy medications. These may be tried for a week or two, provided that it does not cause sleepiness during daytime.  More serious conditions require extended or additional treatment. Medications that suppress the immune reaction of the skin may be prescribed. In difficult cases, bandaging, photherapy, and systemic treatments are given.

Teach your kids how to avoid trigger factors, identify outbreaks, choose "first line" medication, and learn when and how long to use it. When all else fails, consult your doctor.  It is very important to consult a doctor especially when the break out is severe, and when the initial medications prescribed by the doctors are not working anymore.  

More articles can be found in my blogs: Sharing my Thoughts and  Lifestyle Magazine for Moms


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