What is Eczema?
Eczema is a skin condition causing itching and inflamed skin. It is most commonly seen in babies but it can also happen to teens or adults. Eczema or atopic eczema is not a health condition but a reaction by the skin to other health Diseases. It is an allergic skin condition that starts in childhood. It can also be caused by bacterial, fungal, yeast, or viral infections. It starts as a blister with clear red fluid, and when the blister breaks it affects the skin. In chronic eczema, blisters are not seen but there is scaling of the skin. More than half the patients with eczema suffer from asthma and other allergies. Visit a Dermatologist if you are even having mild Symptoms of this condition.
The Atopic Dermatitis Symptoms include:
- The skin becomes dry, itchy, inflamed, flaky, and irritated. It usually appears in the scalp, back of knees, elbows, armpit, cheeks, and arms. More often than not it appears in childhood and the severity reduces with age.
- Scaly thick skin
- It develops red or grey patches
- Small bumps with fluid that oozes out when scratched
- Patches of yellow ooze or pus may be due to a bacterial infection.
- Eczema on face Symptoms include stinging, red or swollen eyelids
- During an eczema flare-up, the skin can get exposed to viral Diseases like cold sores or genital herpes.
- Small but painful blisters can develop in the areas where there is eczema. This can potentially lead to a rare but serious complication called the eczema herpeticum.
- Allergies can also cause this skin condition
Consult your doctor if the eczema signs and Symptoms increase or get aggravated.
Who is at Risk of Eczema?
- There are numerous types of eczema and each has a different cause which is not fully understood. But generally, the below set of people are at a higher risk of having this condition than others:
- People with allergies, be it kids or adults who have allergic disorders like asthma and hay fever are more susceptible to this condition.
- People who live in extreme climates with too hot/cold/dry/humid air
- Children of people who suffer from allergies due to chemicals, skin irritants, etc
- Infants and children below the age of 5 develop all the symptoms of eczema. Half of these children recover once they reach adulthood while the other half have a chronic lifelong condition.
- Some types of eczema are genetic though it is still not understood how it is inherited. Kids of people who have atopic dermatitis and allergic disorders like asthma are at a higher risk of this condition.
Eczema specialists are still not sure of the exact reason for the onset of this condition. Some of the types of eczema-like atopic dermatitis and it has similar symptoms of allergy. The only difference is that there is severe irritation on the skin which is not an allergic reaction.
As of now, the common consensus is that eczema is caused due to a combination of:
- Low immunity
- Upper respiratory infections
- Sensitive skin
- Environmental factors
- Abnormality in the skin barrier allows the germs inside the skin
- Thyroid issues or other endocrine disorders
- Materials like wool or synthetic fabrics which Cause itchy skin
- Temperature changes which make the air too humid or too dry
- Excessive sweating
- Stressful events or activities
- Presence of skin irritants in soap, detergents, cleaners, etc
- Food allergies
How is Eczema diagnosed?
There is no single eczema test to determine if the skin condition is eczema. Additionally, there are various types of eczema, so consulting a specialist can help recognize and get proper treatment. Some of the commonly found eczema types are:
- Atopic dermatitis: Common form of eczema and begins at infancy. It affects the face, back of knees, hands, elbows, and feet. Atopic dermatitis treatment includes ointments, moisturizers, or antibiotics.
- Contact dermatitis: It is further subdivided into irritant contact dermatitis and allergic contact dermatitis. It can get triggered after the skin comes in contact with chemicals or a strong irritant. Antibiotics may be needed to treat this condition.
- Dyshidrotic eczema: The hands and feet are affected by this condition and the affected person will have severe itching along with blisters. Deep cracks can also appear on the fingers. Treatment for this includes wet compress and steroids.
- Nummular eczema: Red marks in the shape of a coin appear on the legs, forearms, back of hands, hip, and lower back. Men are more affected by this than women and the Causes of it are unknown. Treatment ranges from skin protection tools to Prevent scratches to antibiotics if it is infected.
- Neurodermatitis: People have skin irritations due to scratching out of habit or without realizing it. It affects the back, sides, genitals, inside/behind the ear, and scalp. The main treatment is to consciously stop scratching. Medications are also provided to treat Symptoms.
- Stasis eczema: It is a condition that happens due to a lack of proper blood circulation from the veins of the lower legs to the heart. It can lead to weeping suddenly and crusting. Treatment includes cream, ointment, or antibiotics.
- Hyperkeratotic eczema: It is a type of dermatitis that Causes the palms to thicken and scale. It also is known as hand dermatitis and is more common in men than women. After eczema diagnosis, topical treatments are provided failing which other options will be considered.
How is Eczema treated?
Eczema treatment depends on different factors like type and severity:
- The major focus of treatment is improving the quality of life so that patients can go about their daily lives.
- Avoid things that trigger this condition
- The eczema ointment, creams, and lotions should be thick and oily
- Eczema medications include topical ointments, antihistamines, steroids, etc.
If you have skin allergies or Symptoms that point to eczema then visit our dermatologists. They specialize in eczema and can diagnose and provide treatments to bring you relief. Cure.fit Consulting online doctor providing:
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How can Eczema be Prevented?
Here are some of the steps that can be taken to Prevent eczema:
- Avoid scratching the skin or rubbing it if it is itchy.
- Avoid exposure to known irritants
- Water helps in hydrating the skin, so drink plenty of water.
- Use soaps, cream, and ointments that are mild. Apply moisturizer immediately after bath and twice or thrice daily.
- Use lukewarm water to take a bath rather than hot water
- Exercise and learn stress management as it can trigger skin irritations.
- Avoid wool and synthetic material if you are allergic to it
- Wear loose clothes so that you are not too sweaty
- Watch out for food