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More and more babies are suffering from dry, inflamed skin that itches to the point of waking them up at night. Professor Jean-Philippe Lacour, a dermatologist at the University Hospital of Nice, talks about possible treatments for eczema.
At what time of life does eczema appear?
- This skin condition occurs around the 2nd or 3rd month of life, has a peak around 1 year, then gradually decreases over the years. The hereditary nature of this allergy is well established. A baby with one or both parents is more likely to suffer.
- The increase in cases of eczema mainly affects industrialized countries. Main causes invoked: excessive hygiene, living in a sanitized environment, the multiplication of vaccines, the excessive prescription of antibiotics. For example: a child who lives in a rural environment, in a large family and who frequents the nursery (thus has multiple contacts with microbes) is significantly less exposed to the risk of developing eczema.
Have the treatments changed?
- Corticosteroid therapy remains the basic treatment. In case of difficult eczema and only after 2 years, other drugs to apply locally are now proposed, especially immunosuppressants. They prevent the activation of certain white blood cells, lymphocytes, mobilized in the case of eczema. These medications are very effective, not only for treating seizures but also to prevent their recurrence.
- Other compounds are being studied, including probiotics. These bacteria naturally colonize the baby's digestive tract and trigger one of the first antibody productions. The idea is simple: give very early probiotics (close to the yogurt ferments) to stimulate immunity and prevent the development of an allergic reaction. Several French studies have shown that their administration decreases the severity of eczema.