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are pets good for children who have eczema?

What type of pets are good for children who have eczema?

Can children with eczema have pets?

We all love pets, especially children. They are a great way of passing time and having fun, while at the same time helping your child learn responsibility. Choosing a family pet when your child has eczema has comes with extra considerations, this is because pet dander and other allergens or irritants can potentially trigger eczema and aggravate flare ups.

Which pets can trigger eczema?

Any animal that sheds pet dander has the potential to trigger eczema flare ups in your child. Dander is material shed from the body of various animals that have fur, hair, or feathers. You may have heard of ‘hypoallergenic pets’ being better for your eczema child, however there is no proof that these animals are better for children with allergies because all pets have the potential to transfer dander and saliva to your child.

Research on pets and eczema

Studies conducted by Epstein, which was featured in ‘The Journal of Paediatrics’ showed that dog ownership among young children who tested positive for dog allergies, decreased the risk of developing eczema when they are older. Six hundred and thirty six children at risk of developing allergies, living in Cincinnati were collected and results showed that those with dogs were less likely to develop allergies compared to those who did not own a dog.  Doctors call this the hygiene hypothesis, where the theory is that being exposed to germs when a child is young strengthens the immune system.

Although research found this data for dogs, there was not very much information on whether cats act the same way. Studies showed that children who owned a cat before the age of one, who were also tested positive for allergies, were much more likely to develop atopic eczema than those who did not have a cat. If your child is allergic to cats, living with one may make them more likely to get eczema flare ups. Experts say that more investigations need to be administered on the positives and negatives of owning different pets while you have a child with atopic eczema.

According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, eczema flare ups can worsen with triggers such as allergens and pet dander (pet saliva, urine or skin flakes), and not always just the pet’s fur. Since research is still not 100% conclusive, it may be safe to expand your options and buy a pet with no fur instead (maybe a goldfish?). You can also spend time with the pet you are considering buying and see if your child’s symptoms worsen, and then make a decision.

Tips for living with a pet

If you suspect that your pet is aggravating your child’s eczema, here are some tips to help minimise flare ups:

  • Vacuum and dust regularly to get rid of pet dander and fur, as well as any dust mites that might be roaming around
  • Keep your pet out of bedrooms
  • Wash the pet bedding routinely
  • Bathe and groom your pet regularly to get rid of allergens that may be on them. It is best to do it outside to minimise contact with your child.
  • Make sure to wash your child’s hands after they have finished playing with the pets. Regular bath time is important to cleanse the skin especially after your child has come into contact with irritants and allergens.
  • Always remember to moisturise to keep the skin soft and hydrated!

This blog post was brought to you and your family with love from Julia and the itchy baby co. team x.

Disclaimer: Information provided is of a general nature only, and you should always consult your medical professional.

Does iron deficiency cause eczema?

Can iron deficiency cause itchy skin and trigger eczema?

Is there a link between Eczema and Iron deficiency?

We like to keep on top of what’s happening in eczema research and share anything that might help to manage our children’s eczema and itchy, dry skin. New research has shown there is a link between Eczema and Iron deficiency. Being deficient in iron means there is not enough iron to pump oxygen through our blood stream around the body. Researchers have also reported that children with eczema are at higher risk for iron deficiency compared to children who don’t have eczema.

How do we get iron into our body?

At birth, babies have enough iron stores for several months unless the mother had low iron during pregnancy. The best source of iron is red meat, iron-fortified breakfast cereals or bread, eggs, nuts and seeds, and dried fruit such as apricot and raisins. It is important to maintain your child’s diet especially if they have eczema and low levels of iron in their body (excluding food allergies, of course).

Symptoms of Iron deficiency

Some symptoms caused by iron deficiency can be:

  • pale skin
  • tiredness
  • unexplained, easy bruising and bleeding from cuts
  • nosebleeds and bleeding gums

How do I know if my child is iron deficient?

If you suspect your child is iron deficient, speak to your doctor who is likely to recommend a blood test.

Treatment of iron deficiency

Iron deficiency is usually treated by taking an iron supplement, something your doctor or pharmacist might recommend if a blood test confirms your child low in iron.

It is important to keep in mind that being iron deficient does not necessarily mean your child will develop eczema, or that every child who has eczema is iron deficient.

This blog post was brought to you and your family with love from Julia and the itchy baby co. team x.

Disclaimer: Information provided is of a general nature only, and you should always consult your medical professional.

eczema in the heat and warm weather

What are some quick tips for helping eczema in the heat?

Trying to manage our children’s eczema during the heat can be challenging because heat is a common trigger that can aggravate intense eczema flare-ups.  It is so hard emotionally to see our children distressed and also difficult practically when we are constantly doing our best to manage their eczema. Here are some ways to control the symptoms caused by heat and make our children more comfortable.

How does the heat affect eczema?

Healthy skin acts as a barrier to protect the skin from coming into contact with bacteria or any other microbes in the environment. However, when your child has eczema, the barrier doesn’t work as well and is more prone to have bacteria living on and inflaming the skin.

During warm weather, our children sweat to try and regulate their body temperature. Sweat contains trace amounts of chemicals such as zinc, magnesium, calcium and iron, which may be irritating to the skin. In high humidity, sweat cannot evaporate easily, leading to a build-up of these chemicals and causing itching and irritation.

Sweat is made up mostly of water. When water sits on the skin it causes evaporation on the skin’s surface which takes away hydration from the skin. The makes the skin dry and more itchy.

Heat stimulates the itch reflex, so it is important to make sure your child is kept in a cool environment and drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated.

Managing eczema in the heat

  • Wear soft, breathable clothing

Loose fitting clothing is least likely to trap heat in the body and allow your child to stay cool. Stay away from nylon, wool or any rough fabric that may cause itchiness and irritation. Breathable cotton is best as it absorbs perspiration and is more comfortable for your little one’s skin.

  • Stay away from the sun during the hottest part of the day

Avoid be outside during the hottest part of the day to minimise flare-ups and have better control of your child’s body temperature.

  • Keep up the fluids

Making sure your child is drinking plenty of water will help to keep the body’s core temperature from rising. Ice blocks are another great way to increase fluid intake and also cool down the body down.

  • Using cool compresses or wearing a dampened singlet

Applying a cool compress to the skin or wearing a dampened singlet will immediately start taking the heat out of the skin and the edge off itching. Apply the wet compress for a few minutes, or until you can feel it warming up and then repeat until the skin cools down. When you have finished, moisturise the skin to stop hydration leaving the skin.

  • Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise

Make sure to keep your child’s regular moisturiser with you at all times. If you are at home, keeping your moisturiser in the fridge will cool down the skin when you apply it. Moisturisers act as a barrier on the skin to keep away from unwanted bacteria and prevent infection.  The best time to moisturise is within two minutes of taking your little one out of the water while the skin is still damp – this is when the skin can absorb the most amount of hydration from moisturising.

  • Regular bath time routine

Regular bathing is important in managing eczema because it helps to wash any irritants that may be sitting on the skin’s surface and allows a greater opportunity to absorb moisture using a moisturising and protecting bath soak. It helps to also wash away sweat or pollen from the environment to soothe your child’s skin.

This blog post was brought to you and your baby with love from Julia and the itchy baby co. team x.

Disclaimer: Information provided is of a general nature only, and you should always consult your medical professional.

 

dairy and eczema

Does dairy trigger eczema?

When we talk about our children’s eczema we hear a lot about the possibility of their eczema being triggered by dairy products. About 2%, which is about one in 50 of Australian and New Zealand infants are allergic to cow’s milk and other dairy products. Eczema can be a symptom of a dairy allergy.

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eczema and house dust mite

Eczema and house dust mite allergy

There are so many triggers which can affect our children’s eczema. Sometimes it’s really difficult to know what is triggering your child’s eczema and if a common known eczema trigger does actually affect your child. Nearly everything I have read about eczema triggers talks about controlling house dust mite as a way to help manage your child’s eczema. And I know in my case with both my children, house dust mite allergen does trigger their eczema.

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baby eczema

Our feature in Mouths of Mums – stress and eczema

Last week we were featured in popular online parenting website, ‘Mouths of Mums’. We wrote about “How stress could be making your toddler’s eczema worse”. We have included some of the key points from the article below:

Toddler stress and eczema

During stressful times, your toddler’s skin becomes more sensitive leading to inflammation- if your toddler has eczema, increases in inflammation will make the eczema worse. So it is always important to be on top of some of the key triggers which cause stress in toddlers:

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Eczema and dust mites

Dust mites and eczema

We were getting ready to move house and amongst all the chaos there’s one thing which really took me by surprise and that’s the amount of dust which was happily living where I couldn’t see it.

Wasn’t my weekly vacuum, mop and wet dust enough to keep dust away? Apparently not.

Of course the reason why I was so alarmed about the hidden amounts of dust is that dust mite allergen is a big trigger for eczema. Some babies skin can be become more inflamed if it comes in contact with dust mite allergen. Dust mites and eczema just don’t go together. So now I’m trying even harder to make dust mites uncomfortable in our new house with a few new tricks.

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