New recommendations for treating kids with eczema

Ava Rosado, only 4 years old, has been dealing with itchy, painful eczema all her life.

“It feels like you need to scratch it,” she told CBS News.

Her mother, Deanna Rosado, says she constantly tells her daughter not to scratch the eczema. “Rub, rub, rub,” she tells her daughter. “Because if you scratch, you break the skin. She gets infections,” she told CBS News.

It’s estimated about 10 percent of children in the U.S. suffer from eczema, an uncomfortable, inflammatory skin condition that is often difficult to treat. Now, the American Academy of Pediatrics has released new recommendations for doctors when treating the youngest of patients. It says doctors should also give parents an “action plan” to help them manage their child’s condition.

Dr. Nanette Silverberg, a dermatologist at Kravis Children’s Hospital at Mount Sinai in New York City told CBS News she advises parents first how to use moisturizers for eczema, which are sometimes enough to keep skin healthy.

Typically, she also prescribes a steroid cream to apply to skin when a patient has a flare-up. She says the treatment is safe for children. “They certainly have not been associated with major side effects,” she said.

The AAP report also recommends bathing every two or three days with a gentle cleanser. Skin should be patted dry but left damp and moisturizer applied immediately. Parents should monitor flare-ups because children with eczema are more prone to staph infections compared with kids who do not have the skin condition. Sometimes Rosado also gives her daughter an antihistamine before bed to help her fall asleep.

Ava says the treatments have helped prevent her skin from feeling itchy. “When they put the medicine on, it feels better,” she said.