Rash Guard Find out what triggers eczema and take control of your little one’s symptoms.

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When Mara De Maio saw the red, crusty skin on her 2-month-old’s ear, she wasn’t sure what to make of it. But when Estella developed spots all over her body a few weeks later, the Longmeadow, Massachusetts, mom rushed her to the pediatrician. “I was worried she was having an allergic reaction,” remembers De Maio. Instead, she was told that Estella has a form of eczema called atopic dermatitis, an often chronic dry-skin condition that affects about one in five children and commonly debuts in infancy—symptoms show up by age 1 in 60 percent of cases. If your child is diagnosed, it’s important to monitor and treat symptoms daily to keep them in check. We asked experts for their tips to help you prevent flare-ups and soothe sore skin.

Eczema explained
There are several types of eczema, but atopic dermatitis is the most common. It’s a noncontagious, very itchy red rash that can look dry, scaly, or bumpy. It may appear all over the skin or be confined to specific areas—especially those that get a lot of friction, such as the bends of the elbows and knees, between skin folds, and under the elastic band on a diaper. Food, spit-up, and drool can also irritate sensitive skin around the mouth, says Dawn Davis, M.D., section head of pediatric dermatology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. If you notice your baby rubbing the affected area with her hand or wriggling on her crib sheet, she’s probably trying to scratch it, which can make the rash worse.

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