The latest news on treating and trying to prevent eczema

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Eczema is a disease which affects up to one in four children under the age of two in this country. There is no known single cause or definitive answer to why some children develop it, but there is strong evidence to show that genetic factors increase the tendency to develop eczema.

Severity varies from minor flare ups which cause slight discomfort, to large areas of the body becoming intensely itchy and inflamed.

The impact on family life can often be underestimated, when in reality a baby with eczema is often restless and unhappy, leading to a lack of sleep for them and their parents which can lead to greater stress.

Traditionally, treatment of eczema has centered around the topical application of creams, oils and lotions. Steroid creams can be used, but many parents are uncomfortable putting anything on their infant's skin that is not natural, leading to difficult decisions around the question of how to soothe an irritable and uncomfortable child.

But in good news for parents, ongoing research has shown positive effects of the probiotic HOWARU Rhamnosus, a strain of probiotic known to have immune-modulating properties which help to balance the immune system via the gut.

Melanie Bosanko, from Faulding, explains that recent studies have shown that use of the probiotic may lead to a reduction of eczema severity and prevalence in infants to two years.

She explains that in a recent four-year study, a group of high-risk infants were treated before and after birth with the probiotic, then tested for eczema at three, six, 12 and 18 months, then again at two and four years.

"The results gave a clear indication of the value of probiotic use in infants – and where applicable, breastfeeding mothers," Bosanko says.


The severity of each infant's eczema was measured using SCORAD (SCORing Atopic Dermatitis), a clinical tool used to assess the extent and severity of eczema

The results showed that supplementation with HOWARU Rhamnosus for the first two years of a child's life led to:

• a reduction in the prevalence of eczema by about half

• a strong protective effect against having a SCORAD value of over 10

• an overall reduction of both eczema and SCORAD value of over 10.

Most expectant mothers are familiar with cutting out certain foods when they are pregnant and would almost certainly be happy to add in anything if they believed it could have a positive effect on their baby's future health, and Faulding Probiotic Eczema Support offers a chance to pre-empt something that until recently was thought to be unpreventable. For families who have a history of eczema and other atopic conditions (such as asthma and/or hay fever which often go hand in hand with eczema), this breakthrough could bring great relief.

This article brought to you by Faulding.