October is Eczema Awareness Month. Fox 4 is taking a deeper look at the skin condition that affects up to 20 percent of kids and infants, and even some adults.
"A lot of people call it the itch that rashes," Dr. Aurora Badia from Florida Skin Center said.
"What causes Eczema?" Fox 4's Lisa Greenberg asked Dr. Badia.
"We don't really know exactly what causes Eczema. It's a hypersensitivity of the skin, and sometimes there are certain foods that can exacerbate it, but most commonly, we can't really pinpoint specifically what causes it," she said.
She said it's not contagious, and it starts with an itch that leads to red, dry patches.
"Sometimes we also see some changes in the color of the skin. So the skin will be a little bit lighter in that area, a little bit whiter in the area. And then it can eventually develop more redness and actually a thickened plaque where the child has been scratching,” Dr. Badia said.
Eczema most commonly shows up on kids' flexural areas, like the elbows or behind the knees, and sometimes on their hands, arms or face.
"The majority of kids, luckily, will grow out of the Eczema. There's like three peaks: they grow out of it at age two, seven and eleven, generally,” Dr. Badia said.
She said it's important to control the symptoms in the meantime, and keep kids from scratching. Sometimes she recommends medication like Benadryl, but the main key is to keep kids moisturized.
"We tell the parents to moisturize the child two-to-three times a day," Dr. Badia said.
Dr. Badia said you can't do much to prevent the condition, but your child's allergies can exacerbate the Eczema, and vice versa.
"If patients control their Eczema early on, and keep it in check, it might actually make the chances of them having other allergic type problems persist later in life,” she said.
Dr. Badia said Eczema can also have an emotional impact on a child.
"Patients just come in and they just say, 'I want to wear long sleeves. I don't want to expose these areas. People think I'm infectious.' Even though there's nothing really wrong, they worry. They don't want to get close to other people because they feel shunned,” she said.
Dr. Badia said there are a lot of great treatment options for Eczema, like topical therapies, an injectable treatment, and light therapy.