Eczema is a term used to identify a group of medical conditions causing the skin to become inflamed or irritated. The most common type known as atopic dermatitis or atopic eczema. Atopic is a group of diseases with a tendency to develop other allergic conditions, like asthma or hay fever. Eczema may affect any area of your skin, but typically appears on your arms and behind your knees. It tends to flare periodically and then subside.
Infants who develop this condition, outgrows it by the time the turn ten. Other people can continue to have symptoms come and go throughout their life time. Proper precaution like avoiding soaps or other irritants and applying creams or ointments, can help relieve itching.often control the disease.
Signs of allergic eczema may include:
- Red to brownish-grey, dry colour patches
- Itching of the skin which may be severe, especially at night
- Small, raised bumps, which may leak fluid and crust over when scratched
- Thickened, cracked or scaly skin
- Raw, sensitive skin from scratching
- Burning sensation or pain on the skin
- Cuts (fissures) in the skin
Treatment will depend on severity but will be aimed to reduce inflammation, relieve itching and prevent future flare-ups. Non-prescription, anti-itch creams and other self-care measures may help control mild atopic dermatitis. Medication and methods to treat eczema may include:
- Corticosteroid creams or ointments: To ease scaling and relieve itching.
- Antibiotics. If you have a bacterial skin infection or an open sore or fissure caused by scratching.
- Oral antihistamines: If itching is severe, oral antihistamines may help.
- Oral or injected corticosteroids: For more severe cases oral corticosteroids such as prednisone or an intramuscular injection, may be prescribe.
- Immunomodulators: May help maintain normal skin texture and reduce flares of atopic dermatitis.
- Light therapy (phototherapy): Exposing your skin to controlled amounts of natural sunlight or the use of artificial ultraviolet A (UVA) or ultraviolet B (UVB) light
Allergic eczema can clear up within two or three weeks with proper treatment and care. However, the condition might also return if you are continually exposed to the allergen. It is important to identify the specific allergen that cause your eczema, so that you can take the necessary steps to avoid it. This is critical to prevent future reactions. Also keep some environmental irritants that can include shampoos, soaps and solvents. They can easily contradict to itchiness or drying of the skin, which will course your symptoms to flare up. Remember that overheating can also make your condition worse so this should be minimized as much as possible. Try to stay in air-conditioned rooms during the summer.
Preventing allergic eczema in the first place is also very important; stay away from things that can dry out your skin, as well as emotional stressors such as embarrassment and anger. Strong emotions can cause the skin to flush, which in turn will course it to become itchy. Always keep your skin clean to reduce possible skin infections. Bacterial and viral infections can cause your allergies to flare up again.
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