Modified and translated by CFJA
Bathing in the Case of Atopic Dermatitis
Have you ever wondered why do children with atopic dermatitis itch when you bathe them? Many mothers have experienced their children scratching themselves in the bathtub as their bodies warm up.
The skin of children diagnosed with atopic dermatitis may be flaky and some may even ooze fluid. The skin acts as a protection against external irritants. Bacteria about an amount of the size of a fist on healthy skin will not cause infection.
When the temperature fluctuates hot or cold, our skin pores open and close to regulate our body temperature. The skin of children with atopic dermatitis/eczema has difficulty regulating their temperature and they tend to feel the heat of the water quickly. It is interesting because their body also has some areas of cold inside due to their internal organs not functioning or growing well, so they do not have sufficient ability to produce heat and maintain a constant body temperature. In this condition, the body craves heat. Therefore, children with atopic dermatitis are more likely to warm up as soon as they take a bath. The more extensive the eczema, the more likely this is to occur.
When the body warms up, we see the itching appear, which means that the internal organs are less active. Bathing is exhausting to the body, so weaker children, especially those with atopic dermatitis, should take shorter baths in warm water rather than hot water.
A baby’s body temperature is always slightly higher than adults at around 36°C to 36.5°C It is sufficient that a bath temperature for a baby is only about 1°C higher than a baby’s body temperature. If the temperature is higher than that, children with atopic dermatitis in particular will quickly become itchy and tired. It is best to bathe them for a short duration of two to three minutes only to reduce the tiredness and prevent itching.
After bathing, it is important to rinse the skin. This is because germs are everywhere, no matter how clean the bathroom and bathtub are, often after a bath the skin may be weeping fluid and this is the best time to rinse and cleanse the skin. Purified water is best for rinsing off, and warming the water to 30-31°C will not hurt the skin in this condition. As an alternative to purified water, it is more economical to boil water through a water purifier, cool it down and warm it slightly before use. If the water feels smooth to the touch, it is the proper temperature. The temperature will feel different depending on the room temperature or air temperature, so try to find a temperature that does not cause discomfort in your child.