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Is This Eczema?

My 2 year old has a red patch and little white bumps on his arm. Sometimes it seems to be really itchy and other times it’s fine. Is this eczema? How can I treat it?

Stephanie Neuhaus | Pediatrician

Stephanie Neuhaus

To correctly diagnose something like this, please call my office or your child's doctor's office to make an appointment, but it does sound like you are describing symptoms similar to eczema.

Eczema is marked by dry, red, itchy skin. Sometimes blisters may also form and weep clear fluid. This is a chronic disorder and can vary in severity.

The causes for eczema vary. Dry skin, allergies, and skin infections can all be causes. Many children who develop eczema outgrow it by age 4, some struggle with it until young adulthood, and for a few it may be a problem throughout their lives. Eczema is not contagious, so you won’t need to worry about it spreading. 


With eczema you need to treat both dry and irritated skin. A few ideas to help are:

  1. Give your child short baths instead of showers daily in warm water.
  2. Use a mild non-perfumed soap to limit skin irritation. The National Eczema Association has a list of mild soaps you can use.
  3. Don't scrub with rough washcloths or loofahs.
  4. After the bath, use a cream or ointment to seal in the moisture.

If the itch is particularly bad, your child's doctor may prescribe an oral antibiotic or topical steroid. Be sure to consult your child's doctor for diagnosis and complete treatment options.

Read Taming the Itch of Eczema for more information including possible causes and treatment.

Read more answers by Dr. Neuhaus