Toddler health

Ask Dr. Dina: My toddler’s eczema is getting worse. What should I do?

Here's how to soothe your little one's dry skin.

Child rubbing cream into her arm

Photo: iStock

The colder weather seems to make my toddler’s eczema worse. What can I do?

As it gets colder and drier outside, eczema certainly flares up in many kids. Eczema is essentially dry skin that has become inflamed, leading to redness and itchiness. Try not to bathe your kid too frequently or for too long, as that can dry out the skin more. Aim for about 15 minutes every other day, and then lubricate the skin with petroleum-free jelly (my favourite), Vaseline or coconut oil a few times a day. If the skin is itchy or uncomfortable, see your doctor to get a prescription for ointment such as hydrocortisone. These can soothe and heal the skin to prevent discomfort, infections and scarring. A humidifier can help keep the skin moist as well.

Dina Kulik is a paediatrician and emergency room doctor in Toronto and mom to three boys, who are five, three and 17 months. Send her your kids’ health questions at

Read more:
Everything you need to know about eczema 
6 tips for dealing with your kid’s eczema
An age-by-age guide to skin rashes and conditions

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