The prevalence of this condition has risen dramatically during the last three decades. Currently, 15% to 20% of children in the United States are expected to experience this condition sometime during their lifetime, compared to 7% around 1960.
Atopic dermatitis often occurs in infants and children who have allergies or a family history of allergy or eczema, although the problem is not necessarily or always caused by an allergy. Eczema usually develops in three different phases. The first occurs between two and six months of age, with itching, redness, and the appearance of small bumps on the cheeks, forehead, or scalp. This rash then may spread to the arms or trunk. Although eczema often is confused with other types of dermatitis, especially seborrheic dermatitis, severe itching and additional allergy problems are clues that atopic dermatitis is the problem. In many cases the rash disappears or improves by two or three years of age.
The second phase of this skin problem occurs most often between the ages of four and ten years, and is characterized by circular, slightly raised, itchy, and scaly eruptions on the face or trunk. These are less oozy and more scaly than the first phase of eczema, and the skin tends to appear somewhat thickened. The most frequent locations for this rash are in the bends of the elbows, behind the knees, and on the backs of the wrists and ankles. All types are very itchy, and the skin generally tends to be very dry.
The third phase, characterized by areas of itching skin and a dry, scaly appearance, begins at about age twelve and occasionally continues on into early adulthood.
What Naturopathic Medicine Can Do For You
Our goal is provide safe, natural pediatric care – combining the best of Western medicine with naturopathic medicine principles. We seek to avoid drugs and surgery, unless necessary, and treat the root cause of your child’s condition with natural medicine.
Naturopathic pediatric doctors view eczema as a systemic problem of the gut and immune system. Often, eczema comes in a triad alongside asthma and allergies. Strategies for treatment include modulating the immune system with various natural supplements. Treatment may involve supplements and modifications to the child’s and (if nursing) the mother’s diet.
Traditional therapies, like steroid creams, suppress symptoms and do nothing to cure the underlying problem. Symptoms that are suppressed temporarily flare once the treatment is stopped. Steroid creams are based on the cortisol molecule, a natural hormone found in the body. However, steroid creams absorb into the body systemically and change your child’s hormonal makeup. Changes in cortisol levels may change blood sugar balance, fat distribution, and energy levels.
Natural solutions to treat the gastrointestinal tract and immune system work far better in the long term for reducing or eliminating your child’s eczema. Please call us at (425) 392-8881 to schedule your appointment.