Eczema is a medical condition which causes inflammation or irritation of skin. Around 10% to 20% infants and 3% adults in the United States suffer from eczema. Most children cease to be affected by eczema by the time they are 10 years old. However, some people experience on and off symptoms all their lives. Eczema is of different types. The most common type is atopic eczema or atopic dermatitis which is usually characterized by an inherited proneness to allergic conditions like hay fever and asthma.
The Causes Of Eczema
The specific cause of eczema is unknown. Doctors mostly relate the symptoms of eczema with the immune system’s overactive response to certain irritants. It can be caused by defective skin barriers which lack moisture and let germs in easily. It has been observed that this medical condition has a hereditary nature. People with family histories of allergies or asthma are seen to be more prone to eczema. Stress often worsens the condition. People with eczema might develop itchy rashes when they are exposed to certain substances or environments. Others might develop irritation when the skin comes in contact with coarse materials. Some people with eczema also over-actively respond to certain soaps or detergents, while for some it is triggered by cold or respiratory infections.
Symptoms Of Eczema
The most common symptoms of eczema are itching and irritation of the skin. These are often followed by appearance of rashes on the face, hands, feet, or back of the knees. The skin might turn scaly, rough, or dry. In case of fair-complexioned people, the affected areas often appear reddish before turning brown. In darker-complexioned people, this medical condition might affect pigmentation and make the affected part of the skin darker or lighter than the unaffected area.
People with eczema may get it almost every day or only a few times in a year. Regardless of the frequency of the outbreak, the symptoms are frustrating! Although there is no permanent cure for eczema, appropriate treatment can control the medical condition. If you experience symptoms of eczema, you must consult your doctor without delay for determining the treatment best suited for your condition. Treatment mostly aims at reducing and controlling the itchiness; healing the skin; and preventing flares, rashes, and infections.
Medicines for eczema help in controlling the symptoms and healing the skin. Take medicines as directed by the doctor. OTC hydrocortisone is a commonly prescribed steroid for mild eczema. The dosage depends on the severity of the rashes. Ointments and anti-inflammatories like the NSAID ointment are also recommended. When applied as directed, they are effective in controlling inflammation. Barrier repair moisturizers are also recommended for easing dryness of the skin, irritation, itching, and redness. Antibiotics are also commonly prescribed in order to treat bacterial skin infections which might occur due to excessive scratching.
In order to prevent eczema, you must take good care of your skin. Keep your skin healthy by bathing in warm water and applying moisturizer daily. Beware of irritants and wear comfortable clothes.