16 Jun Eczema
Also known as atopic dermatitis, eczema is a skin rash particularly common among young children, but that can last into adulthood. Atopic refers to an allergy, “derma” refers to the skin, and “itis” refers to inflammation. So, atopic dermatitis describes skin inflammation that results from an allergy.
More specifically, it happens when the immune system inappropriately attacks the skin causing a dry, itchy rash on places of the body like the creases of the wrists, the insides of the elbows, and the backs of the knees. Similarly, it might exist on exposed skin areas like the face, scalp, hands, and feet.
What things generate eczema?
Eczema worsens when the skin is exposed to allergens. These allergens can vary and also their reaction in each person. Usually, things like flower pollen, cigarette smoke, mold, and dust mites are common allergens. Sometimes, even sudden changes in the weather or emotional stress can initiate the process of skin inflammation.
All this happens because of a hypersensitivity reaction. In short words, an exaggerated response of the immune system to a specific substance, such as pollen, for example.
As mentioned before, the main manifestations of eczema are on the skin. Red patches of flaky and itchy skin are typical symptoms. The areas of the body more prone to this are the ones that flex. In little kids or babies, the face and scalp are common sites for eczema lesions.
Over time, and after a lot of scratching, the skin can generate blisters and peel. After years with the condition and without proper treatment, the skin becomes thick and leathery, a process called lichenification.
Since it’s not an infection, eczema cannot be spread. But because it affects the skin and, therefore, the person’s appearance, it generates a lot of social stigmas. As a result, teenagers and young adults often suffer from depression and social anxiety because of this.
It has also been known that people who suffer from atopic dermatitis can have asthma and allergic rhinitis or runny nose that go with it.
The diagnosis for this condition is mostly clinical. A doctor will ask what the symptoms are, how long since they appeared, and if there are things that make them worse. Some tests can be done to look for diseases that generate eczema, but they are not very common.
You can go online at VirtualMD, and a professional can assess you with your doubts on this topic.
Management & treatment
The most important thing to do in the management of eczema is to break the cycle of allergy inflammation that causes the skin to dry and therefore generate itchiness and scratching—first, the identification and avoidance of triggers or allergens that cause eczema.
Preventing hot or dry weather, dressing in a soft fabric, so the skin is not rubbed, and managing stress are some ways of helping the body to overcome eczema. Frequent moisturization of the skin is also recommended, especially after warm baths when the pores are open.
For more extreme cases, patients can receive steroids and other medications to dampen de immune reaction. Antihistamines can also be indicated to help with the itching.
For more information or questions on this condition, feel free to call us at 1-800-594-0537, and a doctor will be glad to help you.