Photo: 123RFEczema, or atopic dermatitis (AD), is a common skin condition among young children in Singapore. In fact, one in five school-going children suffer from AD, which shows up as early as during infancy. However, doctors reveal that more and more Singaporean kids are getting AD, particularly moderate and severe cases of the condition.
The recurrent condition causes itching, dryness and discomfort in affected areas where the skin appears red, dry and scaly.
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But why the spike in cases?
Associate Professor Mark Koh, head and senior consultant of KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH), tells The Straits Times that the increase in severity is likely due to various factor, such as heat, sweat, pollution, house dust mites, pet dander and even stress.
Food allergies in infants below two years old may also be a contributing factor, he adds. In babies, eczema usually starts as a skin rash on the cheeks and scalp but can spread quickly to the arms and legs. Children who suffer from eczema have over-reactive skin, and coming into contact with allergens results in skin inflammation.
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Dr Cheong Wai Kwong, a dermatologist at Specialist Skin Centre, gives the lowdown on childhood eczema and what parents can do about it: