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How to Treat Eczema

Could your baby's rash be eczema? Here's how to spot this common skin irritation and treat it.

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If your baby has developed patches of red, crusty skin, you may be dealing with eczema, a common itchy rash. It often looks similar to other skin conditions. So, check with your doctor before treating it. If she does diagnose eczema, these tips can help clear it up. First, look for potential triggers. Pet dander is one. Fragrances in soap and lotion can also irritate the skin. And some foods, such as dairy and wheat, can lead to a rash. Keep a log to see if you can find a pattern between your baby's diet and his eczema flare ups, and avoid those foods. Since overheating can also be a trigger for eczema, dress your baby in lightweight cotton clothes, and bring extra layers in case he gets cold. Your doctor may also suggest giving your baby allergy medication to keep flare ups under control. When you bathe your baby, make sure the water is lukewarm and wash him with a mild unscented soap. After taking him out, pat him dry with a soft, dry towel and moisturize his skin. If your doctor recommends it, dab a steroid cream on the affected areas, then apply a thick oil-based ointment like Vaseline or Eucerin all over. You may need to reapply the ointment two or three times each day to keep baby's skin hydrated. If your baby's eczema doesn't go away quickly, don't worry. Flare ups tend to become left severe as kids get older, and about half of babies outgrow the condition by their teens.