Eczema, specifically atopic eczema, is a genetic skin condition that affects the upper layer of the skin. The symptoms of severity of this condition can vary among affected individuals, that is why it is also called atopic dermatitis.
What are the Symptoms of Eczema?
People with this skin condition can experience any of the following symptoms: redness or the skin, blistering, scaling, crusting, thickening, pigmentation, and oozing of the skin. The first symptom is usually itching, and this itch can be so bad at times that it can interfere with sleep and other activities. The constant scratching can also cause the other symptoms because the skin gets irritated from too much friction. Eczema can affect any part of the body, but the knees, elbows, neck, and wrists are the most affected. Inflamed skin and bumps on the hair follicles appear, along with dryness, blisters, redness, and thickening of the skin.
There are different types of eczema besides atopic dermatitis, such as; irritant dermatitis, allergic contact dermatitis; stasis; fungal; scabies; dyshidrotic or pompholyx; lichen simplex chronicus; nummular; xerotic or dry skin; and seborrheic dermatitis.
Who Can Get Eczema?
Although the cause of atopic eczema is not yet fully understood, researchers confirm that it can be inherited from one of the parents. In some cases, skin allergies and asthma also run in the family although some members do not necessarily inherit eczema. No one can get infected from eczema, however, no matter how severe the symptoms are. This type of disease causes the skin to fail in its function as a protection or barrier from the elements, that is why it is extra sensitive to chemicals and stimuli than normal skin. It is common among children from both sexes, and can sometimes be carried into adulthood when not addressed properly. Some cases also appear during adulthood and in some infants.
How is Eczema Treated?
The goal of the treatment is to lessen the flareups that can cause blistering and lichenification. The person must try to avoid irritants as much as possible, and maintain a healthy lifestyle to avoid infections, cold, and dryness of the skin. Eczema cannot be cured, only controlled with proper treatment, although in some cases, the conditions improve as the child gets older. The doctor will recommend mild soap and moisturizer to avoid dryness and irritation after warm and short showers. You should also avoid dry air as much as possible so that your skin does not get dehydrated.
The following medications might also be prescribed:
• Antihistamine to relieve symptoms
• Hydrocortisone ointment or cream to reduce the symptoms
• Corticosteroids for symptoms that cannot be relieved by antihistamines and hydrocortisone
• Ultraviolet light therapy for severe eczema
• Other medications, prescription-strength moisturizers, and injectables that will help the immune system if the symptoms do not respond to the treatments listed above