A new study from researchers at Cardiff University in Wales has found antibiotics are not effective at treating mild cases of clinically infected eczema in children.

Eczema is a common skin condition that affects 1 in 5 children in the United Kingdom. Particularly bad cases of eczema are called flares, and are often treated with antibiotics.

However, the new study called the CREAM study, found that antibiotics may not be effective in treating mild cases of infected eczema.

Researchers analyzed data from 113 children with non-severely infected eczema who were treated with oral and topical cream and ointment antibiotics and standard eczema treatment with steroid creams and moisturizers, or moisturizers.

The study showed no significant difference between the children treated with antibiotics and those treated with steroid creams and moisturizers.

Children treated with topical corticosteroids and moisturizers had rapid resolution of symptoms.

“Topical antibiotics, often in combination products with topical corticosteroids, are frequently used to treat eczema flares,” Dr. Nick Francis, a clinical reader at Cardiff, said in a press release. “Our research shows that even if there are signs of infection, children with milder eczema are unlikely to benefit from antibiotics, and their use can promote resistance and allergy or skin sensitization. Providing or stepping up the potency of topical corticosteroids and emollients should be the main focus in the care of milder clinically infected eczema flares.”

The study was published in the Annals of Family Medicine.

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