It has been known for many years that what children eat may have an effect on their eczema. There has been an ever-increasing interest in the part that diet plays in the development and cause of atopic eczema.
Eczema can be triggered or made worse by a great many things in our environment, including the house-dust mite, grasses and pollens, stress and eating certain foods. It is thought that in about 30% of children with eczema, food may be a trigger, but a much smaller group than this (about 10%) will have food as their main or only trigger. This means that only a small number of children with eczema are helped by changes in diet and, even in those who are, they will still need to use a good skin-care routine to protect against other triggers. In other words, it is rarely diet alone that triggers eczema.
Diet should only be tried when the eczema is bad enough to be causing distress to the child and significant added stress to the family.
Diets in children with eczema should never be tried without proper supervision. Seeing a dietician is very important to make sure that:
- the diet is followed properly and parents know how to check labels;
- the right diet is tried;
- the diet chosen is nutritionally correct.
Dietary treatment will not ‘cure’
your child’s eczema. You will still need to apply emollients and some topical steroid creams every day. However, when eczema is at its worst, diet may make it easier to manage, reduce redness and scratching, and improve sleep.
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