Eczema is a very common skin disorder. It is the general term given to variety of skin conditions in which skin is inflamed. About 15% to 20% people of the world suffer from this itchy condition at least once in their childhood.
Eczema is the general name given to various skin conditions in which skin becomes red and irritated. This condition prompts for scratching of skin and sometimes, fluid-filled small bumps form and ooze out. Eczema is problem of upper layer of skin.
Atopic Dermatitis is the most common form of eczema. Atopic Dermatitis is the very itchy, chronic and relapsing condition. It is chronic and relapsing condition and is mostly seen in infants and small children. Eczema does not have any cure but can be treated and managed very well.
Signs and appearance of eczema differs from person to person. Common symptoms which are present most often are redness, itching, skin edema (swelling), and dryness, crusting, flaking, blistering, cracking, oozing, or bleeding.
Eczema is popularly referred as the “itch that rashes” because a rash appears on the skin when it is scratched on itching.
Eczema patches can appear on any part of the skin. It generally affects face, neck, inside of knees, elbows and ankles. In infants, forehead, forearm, cheeks, legs and scalp are the most affected part.
Chronic and constant scratching results in thick and leathery texture of the skin which is called lichenfication.
There are many substances that cause itch in eczema patients. Every person reacts differently to each kind of trigger or does not react at all. Most of the times, it becomes difficult to identify the cause of flare-up. Some of the common triggers are as follows:
Rough or coarse substances can trigger itching when come in contact of skin.
Any work involving too much sweating or perspiration can be a trigger.
Too hot conditions
Some kind of soaps, disinfectants, detergents or chemicals
Juices of some fresh fruits or meat
Animal saliva and dander
Upper respiratory viral infections
Excessive mental stress
It is generally seen in people having family history of allergies
People having allergic rhinitis and asthma are also prone to eczema
It is seen that there is improvement in eczema condition of many children between the age of 5 to 15 years and some may have it in their adult life also.
There are many ways which can prevent outbreaks of eczema. These are some simple precautions only. If you follow these, you can greatly reduce the frequency and severity of flare-ups.
First identify what triggers itching and avoid that material completely.
Keep you skin moisturized by applying moisturizers for dry skin.
Avoid those works and circumstances that involve sweating and overheating
Reduce the mental stress
Avoid sudden variation of temperature and humidity
Do not use harsh soaps, solvents and detergents
Avoid rough and coarse fabrics
Stay away from environmental factors like pollens, mites, animal dander and mold which trigger allergies
Some foods are also known to create allergic reaction and cause outbreaks. Avoid those foods.
The most important part of treatment of eczema is to prevent scratching.
Treatment of eczema is targeted towards, making the skin moist and prevent scratching. Patches of eczema are dry and itchy. Lotions and creams are applied frequently to make the skin as moist as possible.
Whatever cream or lotion you apply, make it a point to apply it over the damp skin immediately after bathing, preferably within three minutes. It seals the moisture in the skin. Apply cold compresses over the skin to cool the skin and reduce itching.
For severe itching, apply nonprescription corticosteroid creams to reduce itching and inflammation.
For more severe eczema, doctor may prescribe more potent corticosteroid creams but these creams have side effects too like thinning of skin. Oral steroids are also prescribed in recurrent cases of eczema.
If the patient develops any secondary infection in the cracks or splits, then antibiotics are prescribed. Antihistamines are also administered to reduce itching. Tar treatments and phototherapy are also the options of treatment if doctor advises.
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