‘Ask The Expert’ about infant eczema
We received phenomenal response to our Ask The Expert campaign on allergies. We picked one of the most frequently asked questions and got allergy expert, Dr. Chiang Wen Chin to give us advice on how to cure eczema.
Eczema is a severe allergic condition that causes an inflamed, itchy rash across the surface of the skin. This can leave scars, and is terribly uncomfortable for the baby. Some infants are even born with eczema. The reasons behind this allergy can be hard to decipher, but Dr. Chiang is here to make that a little easier for you.
Dr. Chiang Wen Chin is a Paediatric allergy expert at the Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre. She has also been practicing Paediatrics for more than a decade. Her sub-specialties include the management of children with food and drug allergies including eczema, rhinitis and asthma.
Question from a worried parent: My son has very bad eczema. He is four months old now and I am breastfeeding him. I cannot figure out what he is allergic to. Do I need to see a dermatologist to get some tests done?
Early onset eczema
Some babies can start with eczema very early on in life, although the onset of eczema can start even in adolescent and adult years. This occurrence is a bit less common. Interestingly in infants with moderately severe eczema, up to 40 per cent may have food allergies.
The good news is eczema does improve with age, although there are some children who have flares of eczema as they are growing up.
In a study done in Singapore almost a decade ago, it was observed that up to 20 per cent of school aged children are prone to eczema.
If your child has eczema, it is advisable to breastfeed exclusively for at least 6 months, and continue for as long as possible.
After 6 months, weaning to semi-solid foods can be implemented. Visiting a specialist or allergist will give you a clearer idea of the cause of the allergy as well as what dietary precautions you and your child should take.
Skin tests and blood tests can be conducted to help rule out food allergies as the cause.
Food allergy is rarely the cause for eczema that occurs in adolescents and adults.
We hope this makes eczema easier to understand. If you have any further questions feel free to ask them below. For Part 1, click here.
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