KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Many people get dry skin during the winter months, but for children with eczema, flare-ups can be particularly bad this time of year.

Eczema, also called atopic dermatitis, is an ongoing skin problem that causes dry, red itchy skin. For babies, it may be most apparent on their cheeks.

Many children with eczema do not have enough of a special protein called filaggrin in the outer layer of their skin. Skin with too little of this protein has a harder time holding in water and keeping out bacteria and environmental irritants.

For children whose parents had eczema are at greater risk for the condition. Children with other allergic conditions like asthma and food allergies may also be prone to having eczema. But, sometimes it’s can be tough to know why a child has eczema.

Eczema is not contagious and this is no cure for it. However, there are some tips for managing it.

  • Use moisturizer to control dryness and itchiness.  
    • A child’s doctor may prescribe stronger medicines called corticosteroids. Steroid cream can also be used to calm inflammation when needed.
  • Resist the urge to scratch
    • If the skin is broken, bacteria can get in and result in an infection.
  • Take short baths or showers with warm water and avoid scented soaps.
    • Hot water can make the itch worse. Sometimes, adding oatmeal to a bath can help with itch.
  • Talk with your child’s doctor to see what may be causing flare-ups and try to avoid triggers.