What is Eczema? - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

3/17/03

What is Eczema?

We've heard the term Eczema more lately than ever before because those patients are at a high risk for complications of the smallpox vaccine. But what does it mean to have Eczema?

Eczema is an inflammation that can be red, blistering, or oozing. It can show up as a widespread rash in kids, particularly in the first year of life. The itching is the worst part, but a bigger concern is that any open sores can leave kids open to serious infections.

"Kids will also get infections with viruses with something we call Malescom. It makes these tiny little, flesh-colored bumps -- really common in kids. They're contagious. They can spread like wildfire. Other viruses, like the herpes virus, can make kids with Eczema very sick," says Dr. Denise Metry, Baylor College of Medicine.

Dr. Metry says steroid creams are most often used to treat Eczema in adults, but they haven't been good for kids because they tend to make their skin thin. Now, she says there are new medications without steroids available for children that can lessen the risk of Eczema.

The American Medical Association says most cases of infants with Eczema tend to clear up as the child gets older, but the key to controlling Eczema, in the meantime, is to keep the skin moist. That means, according to the AMA, bathing an area with bath oil to keep the skin from drying out and using moisturizers, like vaseline, to keep the skin moist.

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