It’s not an uncommon sight for new parents — an itchy, scaly patch on their baby’s cheeks, or uncomfortable-looking red areas in the folds of their skin. The fact is that 70% of eczema cases start in children younger than 5 years old, and around 60% of infants who have eczema will continue to have one or more symptoms into adulthood.

Eczema can’t be cured, but it can be treated. And parents have many options for bringing some relief to their baby’s itchy skin. “6 effective ways to treat baby eczema” offers some fantastic starter tips, from the basics of giving your child more baths to less obvious strategies like eliminating dairy. Of course, the most important tip is to consult your pediatrician the moment eczema is suspected.

Also mentioned is the emerging importance of probiotics — not a treatment in itself, but in fact a means of preventing eczema in babies entirely. Using probiotics to avoid eczema is explained even further in “Probiotics Might Lessen Infant Skin Problems.” It’s a longer read, but full of great information and well worth your while. At first it might seem unlikely that gut microorganisms can have such a profound impact on skin, but the article reminds us that eczema — like psoriasis — is in fact an immune condition, and that the immune system is itself closely tied with the digestive tract. Citing 210 studies with more than 11,000 participants, it goes into great detail explaining the mounting evidence that probiotics can actually cut an infant’s risk of developing eczema in half.

Unfortunately, the eczema-preventing qualities of probiotics seem to reduce sharply in children over 3 months old. And even when all precautions are taken, eczema can still emerge. That’s when it’s important to consult your pediatrician, and to start taking extra-good care of your baby’s skin. Regular bathing, knowing and avoiding triggers, and a good therapeutic moisturizing cream are all great places to start.

Nothing’s more important than your baby’s health and happiness, so knowing it’s possible to avoid the onset of eczema is welcome news. And in cases where eczema does manifest, a little research and a few simple actions can do a lot to alleviate your child’s symptoms.