Children's Hospital Colorado

Managing Atopic Eczema in Children (S2:E17)

Dermatologists often refer to atopic eczema (atopic dermatitis) as the itch that rashes, not the rash that itches. Certain conditions can even mimic eczema, particularly in infants, and pediatricians will find that differentials vary significantly based on age group. Understanding the most common clinical presentations, root causes and most effective treatments is helpful for any pediatric practitioner.

Listen to pediatric dermatology experts discuss atopic eczema diagnosis and treatment

Join us for today's episode of Charting Pediatrics with Lori Prok, MD, pediatric dermatologist at Children's Colorado, and Julieann Tibbetts, PNP, pediatric nurse practitioner.

In this episode, we discuss:

  • The four criteria that warrant a pediatric atopic eczema diagnosis by primary care physicians
  • How to differentiate between scabies and atopic eczema, and when to consider a food allergy
  • Key components to the physical exam of an atopic eczema differential diagnosis
  • Initial treatment options for atopic eczema in children that providers can try
  • The best use of topical steroid treatment, including how to choose the strength of corticosteroid treatment
  • Importance of using simple, minimal ingredient products to minimize skin irritation
  • Alternative, non-steroidal treatment options for children who suffer from atopic eczema
  • How to use dry bandages and medicated dressings, including wet wrap therapy for treatment
  • Why controlling the itch is paramount for children with atopic eczema
  • The importance of education in the process of successful treatment, including resources for education around eczema
  • When primary care physicians should refer young patients with eczema to dermatology

Treating atopic eczema in children

When a pediatric primary care provider suspects atopic eczema in a patient, dermatologists are always happy to see the child, even in the case of mild eczema. Referrals are particularly helpful if the patient isn't responding to treatment.

Dermatologists typically find that eczema improves as the skin barrier improves. Emollients are among the most vital treatments, though all four criteria of the condition should be addressed. This includes antihistamines and steroids. Some providers fear over prescribing steroids, but our experts explain why this fear is usually unwarranted.

Atopic eczema diagnosis and treatment at Children's Colorado

Babies and children who battle atopic eczema and other skin conditions are treated by our Dermatology Department. Our pediatric dermatology experts provide a variety of services, including resources and educational tools to help treat and manage eczema. Refer a patient to Children's Colorado.