Eczema is a disease that causes inflammation in the skin. The condition is also called as atopic dermatitis and is characterized by dry, itchy skin and sometimes swollen with fluid-filled bumps and crust over it.
According to a research study, Eczema affects around 15 millions of people in the USA. Majority of them are infants and children. About 10 to 20% of all infants have eczema, data suggests. The itchy and inflamed patched of skin appear in children between 6 months and five years old. They begin as red raised tiny blisters containing fluid. Rashes usually occur on the scalp, face, hands, and feet. The itching condition can last throughout childhood and into adulthood.
What are the possible symptoms & causes of Eczema?
The exact cause of eczema is still not known. However, it is believed to be triggered by a combination of factors, including hereditary. People whose relatives have had eczema are more likely to develop the condition, research studies suggest.
Other than genetics, environmental factors such as low humidity can also make your skin extremely dry and itchy. Use of harsh soaps, perfumes, products that contain chemicals, fragrance or alcohol may also irritate your skin. Some fabrics such as wool and tight clothing can also contribute to itchy skin,
National eczema association has revealed a list of eczema symptom which includes:
- Intense itching
- Dry, sensitive skin
- Red, inflamed skin
- Scaly areas
- Rough patches
- Recurring rash
- Oozing and crusting
- Dark color inflamed patches on the skin
The symptoms may get worse when exposed to specific triggers such as:
- Allergens, including dander, pet hair pollen, and food allergens such as nuts, dairy products, and wheat.
- Hot baths
- colds & Flu
- Change in the weather such as heat, low, or high humidity
Diagnosing the condition
Eczema can be easily diagnosed by looking at a patient’s skin. There are no particular tests available to diagnose atopic dermatitis. The diagnosis of Eczema is based on the physical examination of a patient. A dermatologist prefers looking at the patient’s skin via magnifying glass to examine the condition. He/she may also ask about the detailed medical history of a patient. Environmental allergy testing may be performed to determine the related skin condition such as contact dermatitis.
Treatment to cure Eczema
The treatment largely depends on the severity of the symptoms. It is important to take good care of your skin while treating Eczema. For making your prescription medication most effective, take a proper bath and moisturize your skin regularly. Patients are advised to take warm but not hot baths and immediately apply a fragrance-free moisturizer to avoid dryness of the skin. Prefer wearing cotton clothing; avoid wearing tight clothes and woolens. Sleep with a humidifier on and stay away from cosmetic products that contain harsh chemicals.
For minor condition, some OTC products can be used to lower itching and skin redness. You may use topical antibacterial, antifungal creams, oral antihistamines, and topical preparations that contain steroid cortisone, which is known to reduce inflammation.
For severe condition, prescription cortisone products in the pill and topical form can help to a great extent. In addition, the US FDA has approved a new group of drugs known as topical immunomodulators that helps to alter the body’s response to environmental and food allergens.
Topical corticosteroids are mainly used to treat Eczema. However, their possible well-known side effects make the treatment unsuitable for long-term use. There are a few non-steroidal anti-inflammatory topical preparations available to reduce the symptoms. However, many of these have been associated with the increased risk of malignancy and therefore is not recommended as first-line treatment.
Phototherapy may also be used to improve the symptoms of acute eczema. The treatment is quite costly, and the treatment can also burn the skin. Some new remedies are currently being investigated to cure eczema.
Essential Tips to Avoid or Reduce Eczema
Avoid things that trigger your condition. You should not scratch your skin as minimizing scratching goes a long way towards copying atopic dermatitis. Here are some effective home remedies that you can help you reduce the symptoms:
- Apply cold compresses to reduce severe itching
- Avoid using harsh soaps and chemicals
- Take a bath for a short time bath
- Cut your kid’s fingernail so that he/she cannot scratch the skin
- Prefer wearing gloves when you have to put your hands in water as a part of the chorus
Drink at least eight glass of water each day.