What is Eczema?
Eczema is a skin condition commonly known as dermatitis which can result in dry flaky skin which can be itchy and feel hot. This sensation often leads to vigorous itching which in turn can damage the skin.
The word Eczema comes from the Greek words that mean “to boil over”. The word Dermatitis comes from the Greek word for skin. Both words refer to the same condition though.
There are four types of eczema, (atopic, varicose, discoid and contact/dermatitis).
Atopic Eczema is the most common form of Eczema. It is linked to hay fever and asthma. There is a tendency for it to be inherited, but there are also environmental factors which are important as well.
Atopic means extra sensitivity to certain substances (allergens) e.g. dust mites, cat and dog fur etc.
It affects 15-20% of young children in the UK, however, in about 70% of these cases, it clears up. If it doesn’t clear up, then it is likely that the condition will get worse as the patient gets older.
For some reason, the number of cases of Atopic eczema have increased in recent times.
Varicose Eczema affects the lower legs of patients. It is associated with varicose veins and is often a pre-cursor to varicose vein problems. It is also associated with poor circulation. Unlike Atopic eczema, it tends to affect the middle aged and the elderly.
Contact/Dermatitis Eczema can be either an acute or chronic skin reaction where there is a sensitivity to a particular material. This reaction may be an allergic or non-allergic reaction. This condition is caused when the bodies immune system reacts with a particular substance.
Discoid Eczema can occur at any point in a persons life, however, it tends to appear at a later stage in life. It tends to affect the lower legs and feet and shows itself as a distinct round patch of eczema.
What are the symptoms of Eczema?
This type of Eczemas symptoms normally include red, dry, itchy skin. There may also be some small water blisters which can weep on the hands and feet. Scaly areas will develop as well where the skin has been continually scratched.
The symptoms for Varicose Eczema start with a mild itchiness just above the ankle. This will then become speckled and inflamed as well as becoming itchy. On occasion, ulcers can form.
This type of Eczema usually starts out with a rash in the area where the trigger substance has come into contact with the skin. Once the eczema has been triggered, then the eczema can spread through the body.
Normally, one or a number of round patches of red skin appear. They may be itchy and become blistered. It is also quite common for these patches to be infected with bacteria.
What is the treatment for Eczema?
As with all conditions and diseases, it is usually best to talk to your doctor before embarking upon any course of treatment. The information below is purely for information purposes only and I always recommend that you read the information below and then go and talk to a medical professional.
There doesn’t appear to be a cure for eczema, however, there are a number of treatments which can control the symptoms of this very uncomfortable condition.
There are a number of over the counter creams which will help to soothe your eczema of which there are two types. These are emollients which are moisturisers which will soothe and hydrate the skin. A good time to apply these creams is straight after a bath while your skin is still slightly moist. There are also mild steroid creams. These creams can calm flare ups of eczema by suppressing your bodys inflammatory response. Even though these creams are available to anybody, it is wise to ask the pharmacists advice before using either emollients or mild steroid creams.
Your doctor may prescribe some prescription medicine if the emollients and mild steroid creams don’t work.
Your doctor may advise you to take anti-histamine drugs which will help you to sleep although they won’t directly relieve your eczema.
If your eczema is severe enough, it is possible you could have to go to hospital where the staff there will be able to keep you away from any trigger allergens and also to ensure that you take the medicine prescribed for you.
Eczema, to those who personally suffer from the disease or who have close family that has, can pose a significant problem in trying to live a normal life. Various treatments for the disease have been touted right and left, but few have proven themselves to be truly effective. While it’s recommended that every Eczema sufferer see a doctor who can recommend a course of treatment, there are some over the counter products available that can ease the symptoms of Eczema. If you’re skeptical about trying treatments other than those recommend by your doctor, we suggest talking to him or her before exploring other treatment paths. Below we will be looking into a treatment that has been overlooked by many for a good while – vitamin e cream.
Vitamin e cream has long been used by medical professionals for treating various problems, including scars of various types and other skin problems. Vitamin e cream can be an extremely ideal product for Eczema sufferers – given the amazing things it can do to protect and enhance one’s skin. Since the product can eliminate/reduce skin irritation, it can make living with Eczema much more bearable. Further, vitamin e cream can keep your skin from having to deal with other problems that can be brought about by sunlight. We recommend using a cream that contains natural vitamin e.
Like any other treatment, you have to be patient with vitamin e cream. Some people notice results quite quickly while others are left for several weeks without any sort of results. If you continue on the proper course, you will eventually notice an improvement in your skin. If you have any questions about the cream or whether or not it is suitable for you, we strongly recommend contacting your doctor or dermatologist for further information. He or she should be able to better orient you.
Eczema in Children
When a skin rash cannot be blamed on poison ivy or chicken pox, the culprit is eczema. In this condition, the skin turns red, scaly and develops sores. The itching is beyond the limit and the skins starts to shed in the form of scales. Dermatitis is the other name for eczema. Dermatitis actually means inflammation of the skin and the skin turns pink and sore. Eczema is a common child problem as out of ten kids at least one kid gets eczema and majority of them get it before they turn five years old. Children who are above five years are also at a risk of developing eczema, but once they become teenagers, the chances are negligible.
Not only does eczema dries the skin, it also makes it itch horribly. The skin break out can even take the form of rashes. Eczema is a condition which comes and goes frequently and therefore it is chronic. When any foreign bodies come in contact with the skin, a special kind of cells present in the skin will react to them. Basically, they inflame the skin as a measure of protection. The harmful foreign objects trigger the reaction and make these special cells to over react. This turns the skin itchy, sore and red. Children, who get eczema frequently, have a larger quantity of these special cells.
Usually, people who have family members with asthma, hay fever or any allergies are more prone to getting eczema. It is in their genes to get eczema and this problem is passed over to them by their parent. Some scientists say that people, who as children have had eczema, are at a higher risk of developing asthma or hay fever later in their life. Allergies can only make eczema worse. The good news is that eczema is not contagious, so children can be happy about not catching the infection. The first symptom of eczema is rash development. These rashes may seem to go away in the beginning, but will return back. Although eczema itches badly, not all rashes will itch. Eczema will start to develop behind the knees and inside of the elbows. It will slowly spread to the face and other body parts.
Because rashes can be caused due to many other reasons apart from eczema, the doctor will examine the rashes and its cause very carefully. If eczema is confirmed, the child may have to use a moisturizing cream or lotion to stop the itchiness and drying of the skin. In serious cases, the patient will be recommended corticosteroids. It is a steroid cream or ointment which needs to applied to check skin inflammation. If the itching is really irritating, antihistamine can be taken in either liquid or pill form. And if the scratching had resulted in an infection, antibiotics will also be prescribed. The problem doesn’t get solved forever, but it makes the condition better for the time being.
There are certain things which trigger eczema and should be avoided by children who get eczema frequently. Perfumes, detergents, soap, dry air in winters with very little moisture, and sweaty and hot skin. Also when coming in contact with dust mites and scratchy fabrics can increase skin irritation. The child must abstain from scratching even if the skin is itching badly, as that will make the skin itch more badly. The skin can also get infected with bacteria because of skin breaking and bleeding. A washcloth can be dipped on cool water and placed on the area of itchiness. The parents should cut the nails short of the child so that he/she doesn’t hurt himself while scratching. Lastly, lots of water should be consumed to provide moisture to the dry skin.