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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.

do eczema flare ups improve with age?

Do eczema flare ups get better as my child grows older?

All the time, but especially when our child is experiencing an eczema flare up, we desperately hope these flare ups will be a thing of the past, and sooner rather than later. In most cases eczema will not completely go away, however the severity and frequency of  eczema flare ups may improve as they get older. Eczema can be diagnosed at any age but studies show that it is most common in children under five years old.

How is eczema different in babies, compared to older children?

Eczema usually first appears at three months old with flare ups on the face, chin, scalp and forehead in infants. The location of eczema flare ups on the body can change between six to twelve months because this is the time your little one is learning to crawl. The most common flare ups appear on the elbows and knees as it is easier for your child to scratch or rub these areas while they are crawling. It is important to look out for infection from the eczema flare up, which can form a yellow crust or small pus bumps on the skin. Infection is common with eczema because the skin is open from scratching and bacteria can easily invade the skin’s surface.

Around the age of two, you might start to see eczema flare ups on the creases behind the knees and elbows, the wrists, hands and ankles. Sometimes the skin around the mouth is affected and this can sometimes be linked to teething.

At what age do eczema symptoms improve?

There is a very good chance that eczema will improve as your child gets older and eventually grows out of it, however there may be the occasional bout of eczema which we need to be prepared for. There is no exact age at which your child’s eczema will become substantially less severe and manageable but generally many children will have grown out of their eczema by the time they start school. By the time high school starts, most children will only be affected by eczema flare ups very occasionally. It is important to keep in mind that people with a history of eczema are more likely to have dry skin even as an adult, and should maintain a lifestyle to keep their skin moisturised and hydrated at all times.  

What can I do to treat my child’s eczema until it gets better?

Giving your child a daily bath to keep their skin hydrated and clean from irritants is an important part of lessening the number of eczema flare ups. Immediately after the bath apply a moisturiser to help strengthen the skin’s natural barrier which stops hydration escaping the skin and triggers getting in. Maintaining a skincare routine is essential for eczema management.

This blog post was brought to you and your family with love and care by 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.

household products causing eczema flare up

What common household products can cause an eczema flare up?

There are many different triggers that can affect our children’s eczema and result in an eczema flare up. It is not very well understood what exactly causes eczema but we do know that genetics, as well as the environment play a role. The skin barrier in children who have eczema does not work as well as those who do not have eczema which means that triggers and irritants in the household products we use can more easily penetrate the skin’s surface and cause an eczema flare up. Knowing what these products are for your child can lessen the likelihood of an eczema flare up.

What household products commonly contain irritants which can cause an eczema flare up?

  • shampoo, bubble bath, body wash

Substances which are in everyday skin and hair care products such as shampoo, bubble bath and body wash can cause itchiness, redness and dryness of your child’s skin. This happens because they can more easily get into the layers of skin as the skin barrier isn’t working properly to be able to keep them out. These substances can also further dry the skin out by stripping what there is of the skin’s barrier, causing hydration to easily escape.

  • laundry detergent

After we wash our clothes, some laundry detergent residue can remain in the clothes fibres which, depending on the sensitivity of your child’s skin, can cause irritation. Choosing a laundry detergent for your child’s clothes which doesn’t irritate their skin can be challenging but there are some alternatives available. Adding an extra spin cycle at the end of a wash can also help remove the residue and lessen the chance of your laundry detergent irritating the skin and causing an eczema flare up.

  • cleaning products

The products we use to keep our houses clean can also contain substances which when they come into contact with our children’s skin can cause irritation, inflammation and sometimes an eczema flare up. Common places for children to come into contact with cleaning products are surfaces such as, dining tables, kitchen benches, windows, and floors. Going over surfaces with warm water after using these products can help, and also looking into using more natural cleaning alternatives.

What are other common environmental causes of an eczema flare up?

  • Cigarette smoke
  • Fragrances
  • Certain fabrics such as wool and polyester from the clothes worn by your child
  • Perfumes

Remember to always stick to your skincare routine

As well as doing our best to avoid these triggers, the most important part of managing your child’s eczema is sticking to their eczema skin care routine to ensure the skin is nourished and hydrated. There are a range of ointments and creams which can be used to give as much moisture as possible against triggers to manage dry skin.

This blog post was brought to you and your baby with love by 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.


toddler eczema flare ups

How to avoid toddler eczema flare ups

Trying to avoid my little boy’s eczema from flaring up has become a part of my everyday life. It is considered in everything I do, nearly every purchase I make for him, choosing which activities we do and even the language I use with him about being itchy. There are some things which I almost do without thinking now to try to avoid his eczema flare ups.

Read more