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Rady Children's Specialists

Nummular Eczema

What is Nummular Eczema?

Nummular eczema, also known as discoid eczema or nummular dermatitis, is a skin condition commonly seen in pediatric patients, characterized by distinctive coin-shaped or oval patches of irritated skin. These patches, often referred to as lesions, manifest as eczematous plaques and typically appear on the extremities and trunk of the body.

The lesions associated with nummular eczema in pediatric patients are discrete and may present in various forms, including papular, vesicular, or exudative (oozing). Due to intense itching (pruritus), your child may scratch the affected areas, leading to thickening of the plaques over time. This chronic disorder may be mistaken for tinea corporis, a fungal skin infection.

Nummular eczema can be associated with atopy, which includes a history of atopic dermatitis, allergies/hay fever, or asthma in pediatric patients. The treatment for nummular eczema in your child parallels that of atopic dermatitis.

Symptoms & Diagnosis

Nummular eczema typically manifests as round or oval-shaped patches, resembling coins, on the skin. These patches are often itchy and may become red, scaly, and inflamed. Nummular eczema can manifest differently in infants and younger children which may involve the face and scalp. In some cases, the skin within these patches may crack and ooze clear fluid.

Diagnosing nummular eczema in pediatric patients involves a thorough examination of the affected skin, considering the distinctive appearance of coin-shaped lesions. Pediatric healthcare professionals take into account your child’s medical history, family history of skin conditions, and potential triggers. It’s crucial to differentiate nummular eczema from other skin conditions such as fungal infections (e.g., tinea corporis) and psoriasis in pediatric patients, to ensure accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Treatment & Management

The primary goal in managing nummular eczema in pediatric patients is to alleviate symptoms, reduce inflammation, and minimize flare-ups. A doctor can provide appropriate guidance and treatments for mild or severe nummular eczema, tailoring the approach to address the specific needs of the affected areas. Here are key aspects of treatment and management for your child:

  • Moisturization: Regular application of emollient moisturizers to keep the affected skin of your child well-hydrated and minimize dryness and itching.
  • Topical Corticosteroids: Pediatric healthcare providers may prescribe topical corticosteroids to reduce inflammation and provide relief to your child during flare-ups.
  • Avoiding Triggers: Identification and avoidance of potential triggers such as irritants, allergens, and harsh soaps that can exacerbate the condition in your child.
  • Antihistamines: Use of antihistamines to manage itching and improve comfort for your child, especially during flare-ups.
  • Education and Support: Educating you as a parent and your child about the condition, proper skincare, and long-term management. Providing ongoing support and guidance to enhance your child’s quality of life.

At Rady Children’s Hospital, we provide individualized treatment plans and closely monitor your child’s progress, with regular follow-up appointments from our pediatric healthcare providers. This is essential for effectively managing nummular eczema in pediatric patients. Collaborative efforts between healthcare professionals, parents like you, and caregivers are crucial to optimize outcomes and ensure the best possible care for your child with nummular eczema.