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Is Baby Eczema Caused by Smoking Parents?

by Candice Coleman

About one out of every 10 children is plagued with eczema at some point, according to KidsHealth.org, a skin condition that may result in inflamed, itchy skin patches. Though most babies outgrow it, some people may be plagued with eczema for the rest of their lives. If you are concerned that smoking is triggering your baby's eczema outbreak, ask your pediatrician for help.

Causes

The biggest culprits behind eczema include a family history of eczema or allergies, says the American Academy of Pediatrics. Atopic dermatitis, an inflammatory condition that affects the skin, and contact dermatitis are also causes of eczema. Triggers of atopic dermatitis, which may then lead to itchy, reddened eczema, can include soaps, detergents, dust, certain foods and cigarette smoke, among others, according to Boston Children's Hospital. It is also possible that your baby's eczema may be triggered by a combination of things.

Will Smoking Cessation Help?

Parents may be eager to flush their cigarettes when they learn that smoking could play a role in the development of a baby's eczema. However, many children who have atopic dermatitis may also have other underlying skin problems, according to Boston Children's Hospital. Stopping smoking may decrease the eczema flare-ups your child has, but it won't cause the eczema to go away permanently. Improved lung function and better overall health for you and your little one, though, may make it worthwhile to try to curb your habit.

Medical Treatment

The biggest concern about eczema is that itching may cause the skin to become infected. Daily lukewarm baths with the use of skin moisturizers afterward can be very helpful. Doctors may also prescribe medications like antihistamine creams, antibiotics or corticosteroid creams, according to Boston Children's Hospital. If your child's symptoms persist despite treatment, ask your doctor for advice. It is possible that your baby does not have eczema, but she may have a similar condition.

Treatment at Home

Keeping fingernails trimmed and clean can prevent your baby from scratching and causing an infection. Sweat and dried-out skin can also cause complications for sufferers of eczema. Running a humidifier in your home and providing a cool environment for your child may make eczema more manageable, advises Boston Children's Hospital. You can also ask your little one's pediatrician about "wet wrap therapy," which involves leaving moistened bandages on your baby's body overnight, suggests the American Academy of Pediatrics. A pediatrician can show you how to do this technique at home without chilling your baby.

About the Author

Candice Coleman worked in the public school system as a middle school and high school substitute teacher. In addition to teaching, she is also a tutor for high school and college students.

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