Coping With Sick Kids Under 5 — Eczema

IN THIS series of 5 articles, we explore the 5 most common illnesses among children below 5.


About 1 in 10 children are likely to get eczema, resulting in sensitive and irritated skin. If your child suffers from eczema, it is important to know what you can do to relieve the symptoms.

Eczema is a skin condition that often starts in early infancy.

It is characterised by dry, red and itchy skin. It can get worse from time to time and subside as they get older.

It is usually a long-term condition which affects about 10-20% of children. However, it can improve significantly in some children as they get older.


Signs And Symptoms

In younger children below 2 years old, eczema tends to start on the face, scalp, neck and body. In older children, eczema can appear in the creases of the elbows and knees as well as the wrists, ankles and buttocks. It tends to worsen during illnesses like a cough or a cold, in hot weather or dusty environment.

Itchy skin is the main sign of eczema. This causes them to scratch and rub the affected areas, which breaks the skin, and increases the risk of skin infection.

PrintThe Healthy Way is a regular health series developed for STORM.SG by Healthway Medical. If you have specific queries, please do email us at and we will ask the panel of experts for their advice. Do note that only selected queries will be addressed.

What Should You Do?

There is no cure for eczema, but the following measures can relieve itching and prevent new outbreaks.

  • Use a cleanser that is mild and gentle on the skin
  • Use moisturizer liberally and frequently on the affected areas
  • Bathing time should be short and with lukewarm water, and followed soon by moisturizer application
  • Maintain comfortable levels of air humidity and temperature in your home

The doctor or paediatrician may prescribe a steroid-based cream for severe flare-ups of eczema.

Article Follows…

Goldbell Group

Previous Article About Coping With Sick Kids Under 5

The Common Cold

Stomach Flu

Bronchitis & Bronchiolitis

Hand Foot And Mouth Disease

eczema scratching

 Preventing Eczema

Though the exact cause of eczema is unknown, you can prevent flare-ups by doing the following:

  • Discourage scratching by using mittens in young babies and keeping fingernails trimmed
  • Avoid using harsh detergents and cleansers
  • Avoiding allergens like house dust mites or substances known to worsen the condition

Ways to reduce house dust mites include:

  • Avoid keeping plush toys
  • Washing bedding sheets in warm (>60°C) water weekly
  • Cleaning the air conditioner filter weekly

Article Follows…


When To Seek Medical Attention

  • If the child’s eczema worsens despite intensive moisturising
  • When there are suggestions of secondary skin infection like intensive redness and itch, yellow discharge from the skin, fever and swelling around the site.


Images: Shutterstock

Dr Wong Chin KhoonDr Wong Chin Khoon is a Paediatrician at SBCC Baby & Child Clinic, a member of Healthway Medical Group. He is also the Medical Director of the Paediatric Group of the Specialist Division of Healthway Medical Group. 

See also  Coping With Sick Kids Under 5 — Stomach Flu (Gastroenteritis)


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here