If your baby is at risk for developing
atopic dermatitis because you or other family members
have it or other allergies, these steps may help prevent a rash or reduce its
- If possible, breast-feed your baby for at least
6 months to boost his or her
- Talk to your doctor about your diet if you are breast-feeding.
Your diet may affect whether your baby develops atopic dermatitis. Although the
effect of a breast-feeding mother's diet is a point of controversy, researchers
have observed that some infants' rashes improve when their mothers eliminate
milk from their diets and get worse when milk is reintroduced. Other
allergenic foods can potentially have a similar effect
on breast-fed babies. This connection is neither well supported nor strongly
refuted by current research.9
- When you are
ready to give your child solid foods, talk with your doctor about whether your
child should avoid foods that frequently cause
food allergies, such as eggs, peanuts, milk, soy, and
If you or your child has atopic dermatitis, you may
decrease flares by:
- Avoiding dry skin. This is essential in
treating atopic dermatitis. Keep your or your child's skin hydrated through
proper bathing and use of moisturizers. This includes
bathing in warm water, bathing for only 3 to 5 minutes, avoiding gels and bath
oils, and using soap only on the underarms, groin, and feet on a regular basis.
Apply a moisturizer immediately after bathing, even while your skin is still
wet. For more information, see:
- Atopic dermatitis: Taking care of your skin.
irritants that cause a rash or make a rash worse.
These include soaps that dry the skin, perfumes, and scratchy clothing or
- Avoiding possible
allergens that cause a rash or make a rash worse.
These may include dust and
animal dander, and certain
foods, such as eggs, peanuts, milk, wheat, or soy
products. Talk to your doctor first to determine whether allergens are
contributing to your atopic dermatitis. For more information on food allergies,
see the topic
- Controlling itching and scratching. Keep your
fingernails trimmed and filed smooth to help prevent damaging the skin when
scratching. You may want to use protective dressings to keep from rubbing the
affected area. Put mittens or cotton socks on your baby's hands to help prevent
him or her from scratching the area.
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