Eczema

Eczema(also called dermatitis) is a collective term used for different types of skin swelling. Scratching it can make it worse and can make it red, swollen and itchy. It is not a single health condition, yet a pattern of reactions seen in other skin infections. Atopic eczema is the most well-known type, which is usually seen in patients with Asthma and hay fever. Atopic means the tendency to catch allergic conditions. It is a non-communicable disease.

Symptoms

The symptoms of this disease may differ from one person to another. Various types of eczema can appear in different parts of the body. Eczema is very itchy. It may be mildly itchy for some while severe for others. Here are some of the well-known symptoms:

  • Dry and sensitive skin
  • Inflamed skin that appears red, grey, purple or ashen depending on the skin tone.
  • Very severe itching
  • Dark patches of skin
  • Rough or scaly patches of skin
  • Oozing
  • Areas of swelling

Causes

Some trigger factors can make eczema to flare up. A few trigger factors might be:

  • Irritants such as soaps and detergents, skin infections, dry skin, low humidity or heat.
  • Allergens like pollen, moulds or certain foods.

Other causes of eczema are:

  • Genetic mutations which might be affecting the skin’s barrier.
  • Immune system dysfunction.
  • Negative effect on skin barrier function due to dry skin.

Treatment

The treatment plan is based on certain factors like severity, age and the type of eczema. The following are some of the possible treatments.

Skincare

  • Use topical steroids to soothe the itch.
  • Avoiding scratching your skin.
  • Cut your nails short as scratching in sleep can’t be controlled.
  • Moisturise your skin 2-3 times a day using some ointments. ( The moisturizer should be alcohol, fragrance and free of any substance that can cause skin irritation.)

Wet wrap therapy

  • Take three lukewarm baths a day.
  • Apply topical medication and moisturiser on the affected area and seal it using a wrap, maybe a towel or moist gauze.

To avoid eczema, one should avoid the triggers and use emollients such as moisturisers and oils.

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