What Every New Parent Needs To Know About The Progression From Infantile Eczema To Asthma

There's just something about the chubby cheeks of a baby that makes them pinchable. Their cheeks are so soft and pudgy that you want to squeeze the pudginess in between your fingers… unless the baby has infantile eczema. With this condition, a baby's cheeks will have a bright red rash and ooze pus when irritated.

If your little one has this condition, it is crucial that you understand what causes it and what it's related to. That way, you may be able to stop its progression to asthma, which is called the atopic march. Here's what you need to know.

Atopic march – from infantile eczema to asthma

Infantile eczema occurs when your little one's skin is extremely dry. Sometimes, the rash is due to the baby's immune system fighting allergens, particularly in food. Here is probably the most important information you need to know about infantile eczema – as many as 70% of babies with infantile eczema will develop asthma at some point in their lives.

According to research, skin damaged by infantile eczema secretes thymic stromal lymphopietin (TSLP). This substance then circulates throughout the body and is what is believed to trigger the development of asthma.

Essentially, this means you want to keep your baby's infantile eczema under control as much as possible to slow down or eliminate the progression of the atopic march to asthma. While that may seem nearly impossible, there are a few things you can do to help reduce the amount of damage infantile eczema does to your baby's skin so TSLP isn't secreted.

Triggers & eliminating them

Your baby's pediatrician will likely have you try to eliminate various known allergens from your baby's diet, such as milk products, soy, and wheat. Other allergens that may cause the rash may be attributed to laundry detergents and/or personal hygiene products. The best way to protect the skin is to figure out what triggers infantile eczema and eliminate it completely from your baby's life.

Your pediatrician or allergy specialist likely asked if you've changed products recently when you first took your baby to the clinic for the rash. It's a good idea to keep a log of everything your baby eats and everything his or her skin comes in contact with to see what could be the potential trigger(s) of infantile eczema.

Note down the condition of the rash several times a day. Take the notes with you to each check-up. If you suddenly notice that your baby's infantile eczema got worse after eating a certain food or coming in contact with a particular material, eliminate it completely. You may end up with a number of eliminated things. Keep track of them all so you can discuss them with the doctor. However, it's important to understand that, sometimes, the triggers remain a mystery.

Skin protection

When your baby's skin has an active case of eczema, you'll need to do your best to protect it from further damage and/or infection. Eczema is extremely itchy, which can cause your baby to rub and scratch their skin. This can cause the skin to break open, ooze, and crust over, which are the types of damage that secrete TSLP. This is one reason why it is important to keep your baby's fingernails trimmed. Alternatively, you can put mitts on your baby's hands to keep them from scratching.

Your pediatrician or allergy specialist can prescribe antibiotic ointments to help reduce the risk of infection. Sometimes, steroid creams are prescribed to help the rash heal. Keeping the skin moisturized is also important and does not require a prescription from a doctor. Be careful, though, when you purchase moisturizers for your baby's delicate skin. Do not put anything on their skin that contains alcohol. The alcohol will burn the broken skin and cause them to have intense pain.