Eczema equals itch

This week’s expert: Dr Anne Halbert, Consultant Dermatologist at Princess Margaret Hospital, Perth

The number one classic feature of atopic eczema is itch, even in little babies, says Dr Anne Halbert, consultant dermatologist at Princess Margaret Hospital in Perth.

“It’s itchy right from the very start,” she says.

Even in the tiniest babies you’ll see evidence of scratching. In these infants, atopic dermatitis tends to first appear on the cheeks, forehead and scalp, but rapidly spreads to other areas of the body often targeting the nipples and sparing the nappy area.

As the condition progresses it tends to produce exudate, becoming weepy and looking even more inflamed. This ooze can produce a yellowish crust which is often mistaken for infection. Even though eczematous skin is prone to becoming infected, it would be a mistake to automatically assume all children with this exudate have an infection and start them on antibiotics – ...

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