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HomepageInformation CentreSkin Disorders in Children › Eczema in Children How to Ease the Itch!

Eczema in Children How to Ease the Itch!

Eczema in Children


Eczema in Children – How to Ease the Itch!

Eczema or atopic dermatitis, as it is also known, is a skin condition characterised by dry, red itchy scales that gets worse when under stressful or hot, sweaty conditions.  The instance of eczema in babies can be between ten and twenty per cent.  While fifty percent of kids will have outgrown eczema by the time they are fifteen, ongoing eczema can predispose a child to asthma and hay-fever at a later stage in life.  While topical creams are often used to soothe the external symptoms of eczema in children, eczema is a systemic condition that needs to be addressed at an internal level as well, to truly clear it from the body.

Causes and Treatment of Eczema in Children

1. Allergies.  Allergies are one of the main causes of eczema in children.  The most common food offenders in decreasing order are eggs, cow’s milk, food colourings, tomatoes, fish, goat milk, cheese, chocolate and wheat.  You can either get your child tested for intolerances or you can eliminate suspect foods for at least 10 days and the reintroduce to see if symptoms reoccur.   Allergies and children conditions are so linked these days that if you have a concern, it is  a good idea to get tested.

2. ‘Leaky Gut’.  Having a healthy gut is one of the key steps in improving eczema in children.  Ongoing food sensitivities damage the wall of the intestine and lead to a condition called ‘leaky gut’ whereby toxins leak out of the gut and back into the blood stream, where they travel around the body causing inflammation and sensitivity.  Healing the gut wall is one of the key factors in treating eczema.  Removing food intolerances is one of the first steps in this. 

The bacteria that reside naturally in our gut play a key role in helping us to digest food, eliminate toxins and help to keep the immune system healthy.  For these reasons, ensuring that we have the right balance of ‘good’ bacteria in our digestive systems will help to reduce the symptoms of eczema.  Signs that this is not the case are bloating in the tummy, flatulence, diarrhea and rectal itching.  Probiotic supplements will help to redress this imbalance.
As well as making sure that the gut is healthy and allergens have been removed, there are a number of nutrients that are really important to help improve eczema. 

3. Ability to Process Fats.  Kids who suffer from eczema tend to metabolise these fats differently.  As a result , the nutrient  omega 3, , especially the EPA/DHA form that is found in oily fish is very important.  Omega 3 is a natural anti-inflammatory compound that helps to reduce the internal inflammation and irritation that drives the eczema symptoms.    The best sources are from oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines and fresh tuna.  Foods such as flaxseed, pumpkin seed and walnuts are also high in omega 3 but it is a precursor of the omega 3 found in oily fish which is the form that the body uses directly.

Zinc is another nutrient that is important for skin health and also for the breakdown and absorption of the omega 3 fats.  Foods that are high in zinc are pumpkin seeds, brazil nuts, oats, peas and all seeds, nuts, legumes and whole-grains.

4. Over active Immune System.  Vitamin C is critical for skin health and for balancing the immune system which tends to be overactive in people with eczema.  Vitamin C is found in berries, citrus fruits, kiwis, red peppers and greens like broccoli and brussel sprouts.  Your child should be having two of these foods daily to ensure they are getting enough vitamin C.  A 100g serving of red pepper has 190mg of vitamin C while 100g of strawberries yields 59mg of vitamin C.

5. Quercitin.  Onions, apples, garlic , cherries and buckwheat are high in a natural anti inflammatory compound called Quercitin which is really beneficial to reduce the inflammation found in eczema.  Onions can be added to soups, casseroles and pasta sauces and blended well.  Apple slices should be included in lunch boxes.  Buckwheat flour makes great pancakes that can be topped with crème fraiche or yoghurt and cherries or berries.
Both vitamin C and quercitin are natural anti histamines and very useful for children and allergies.

Must Do’s for Children with Eczema

1.  Identify any food allergies either by testing or using the elimination diet

2.  Include omega 3 rich foods daily or an omega 3 supplement

3.  Have two of the vitamin C rich foods in their diet every day – berries, broccoli, red peppers, kiwis, citrus fruits.  Soups, smoothies, juices and fruit salads are good way to include these.

4.  Include either apple, onion or garlic everyday to increase quercitin intake.  Homemade garlic bread with lots of fresh herbs blended is a great way to include raw garlic.

5. Add zinc rich foods daily.  Pumpkin seeds with dried fruit or chopped brazil nuts in oatmeal are good ways to ensure this.

Recipes for Children  with Eczema.

1. Buckwheat Pancakes

2. Summer Berry Smoothie

3. Banana and Kiwi  Smoothie

4. Roasted Carrot and Pepper Soup

5. Broccoli Soup

6. Oat and Seed Bars

7. Wholewheat Pasta with Sweet Potato Tomato Sauce

8. Tomato  Sauce with lentils

9. Pasta with Salmon in Tomato Sauce

10.  Pasta with  Sardines in Tomato  Sauce

11. Simple Garlic Bread

12. Porridge (Oatmeal) with seeds and honey

13.  Spicy Fish Balls

14.  Salmon with Mango Salsa

15.  Chicken Fried Rice



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Michelle R., Waterford


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