(HealthDay News) — A growing number of children are being diagnosed with eczema – but it can usually be eased with topical treatments, according to a new report by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) published online November 24 in Pediatrics.

Based on a household survey by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the prevalence of eczema among children <18 years of age rose between 2000–2010: from around 9% to 17% among black children; from 5% to 10% among Hispanic children; and from around 8% to almost 13% among white children.

“We don’t know for certain why that is,” report coauthor Anna Bruckner, MD, of the Children’s Hospital Colorado in Aurora, told HealthDay. Greater awareness of eczema and higher rates of diagnosis are likely part of it, she suggested. “But the incidence of the [eczema] is probably increasing, too.”

The treatments described in the AAP report are not new, Bruckner said. But since so many children have eczema – and there are so few pediatric dermatologists – all pediatricians need to be up to speed on the skin condition. For most children with eczema, topical treatments and careful skin care are enough to control the condition. Some children can benefit from additional treatments, according to the AAP. Those include oral antihistamines, which control itchiness and may help children sleep through the night.

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