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Thursday, September 23, 2021

The Mum Diaries: Eczema questions you’ve been itching to ask

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It’s winter time, and while this season is wonderful, it also means increased eczema.

For mums, seeing children struggle with skin issues can feel very stressful. Naturally, you’d feel helpless while watching your child itching away in a bid to relieve themselves of eczema. While it is challenging for both mum and child, here is hope in knowing remedies and solutions do exist. 

At two-year’s old, Naima’s son started experiencing inflamed skin that gradually turned into abrasions and started to bleed. 

Despite trying different ointments and creams, the issue was only getting worse and Naima finally hit breaking point when she saw him waking up with scabs from itching all night.

Finally, she made an appointment with a dermatologist who helped address all her concerns. Shortly after the first visit, her son was diagnosed with eczema and a treatment plan was prescribed.

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After months of worries, Naima finally began to feel some sort of relief for her son. Now, five years later, she looks back at this moment in time and can breathe.

“When any mum mentions eczema, I feel their pain and know their concerns. My heart goes out to them but I know that there are good solutions to improve the eczema,” she told Doha News. 

For mums dealing with eczema for the first time, the usual questions usually prop up: What is eczema and where does it come from? Specialised dermatologist  Dr. Fatema Abbas says eczema is simply an inflammatory skin disease.

Some types tend to run chronically and recurrently and it is common at all ages, but each age group tends to develop different types of eczema, she says.

For example, children get atopic dermatitis more commonly, as it affects 20-30% of them.

“It may begin at an early age in infancy and may be associated with other allergic diseases such as asthma and allergic rhinitis. There is also a family story in about 90% of cases,” Dr. Fatema told Doha News.

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Symptoms of a child with eczema include a rash of papules and vesicles, crusts, abrasions, dry skin, itching, and secondary infections may occur.

Cases of eczema may continue into adulthood and may improve for some after puberty, depending on the patient’s awareness, the environment, and the improvement of the skin barrier structure.

However, there are treatments aimed at the most important methods of alleviating the eczema.

“It’s important to focus on maintaining skin hydration, avoiding irritating factors, and reducing itching and inflammation,” Dr Fatema says.

In winter, eczema may worsen due to dry skin but there are some tips to help alleviate children struggling with eczema, according to the skin expert.

1- Moisturising: Key in treating an eczema patient, emollients containing urea and ceramides should be regularly applied at least twice a day, after bathing and swimming, even if there are no symptoms. 

2- Avoid provoking factors: These include excessive bathing, soaps, wool, nylon, and tight clothing.

3-Allergens: Air and food allergens should be avoided, especially in patients who have had positive skin tests. Among these allergens, house dusts, colourings, preservatives and flavourings used in the composition of prepared foods.

While these tips may provide temporary relief, it’s vital for those with eczema to seek individual expert advice from doctors to receive better medicinal treatment, which may include moisturisers, antihistamines, and sometimes corticosteroids in severe cases. 

Although childhood eczema is exacerbated during the winter time, it is not a reason to lose hope or feel down.

Remedies and treatments have come a long way and this is great news for mums of kids that are looking for relief. These days, there are ways to take control of the eczema so that your child does not have to suffer through painful itching.

Dr. Fatema Abbas is a board certified dermatologist at Al Shefa Polyclinic in Doha, Qatar. You can find Dr. Fatema on instagram: @dr.fatema_abbas. 

Chereen Shurafa is a Doha based community counsellor, writer, and certified change coach. She is the founder of “Dear Chereen”, an online platform dedicated to mindfulness, mental health, and inspiration.


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