Eczema is a chronic skin condition, which leads to dry, itchy, red patches that can cause peeling, blisters and sores on the skin. Eczema can appear in any part of the body, such as folds of the elbow, hair lining, neck, behind the knee etc. People suffering from eczema have a risk of suffering from other allergic conditions like asthma or hay fever also.
What Causes Eczema?
Though the exact cause of eczema is not known, there are various factors which can lead to eczemas, such as genetic factors, the sensitivity of skin, overactivity of the immune system, environment, defects in the skin barrier and the weather. Eczema is known to have certain trigger factors. They are not the causative factors, but can lead to the flare ups or can also make an existing flare up of eczema worsen. The triggers of eczema are:
Stress. Stress is the most common cause or worsen or trigger a flare up of eczema.
Dryness of Skin. People with excessively dry skin are more prone to suffer from eczema.
Heat & Sweat. An environment where there is excessive heat and sweating triggers an eczema attack.
Cold & Dry Weather. Cold and dry weather also causes a flare-up of eczema.
Irritants. Contact of the skin with irritants, such as wool, synthetic fabrics or soap can causes a flare-up of eczema.
Food Allergy. Certain food substances to which a person is allergic can cause an eczema flare-up.
Environmental Irritants. Environmental irritants, such as smoke and pollen, can also lead to triggering of eczema.
Hormonal Changes. Hormonal changes and stress levels also play a role in bringing in the eczema flare-up.
Circulatory Issues. Circulatory problems in the body also contribute to the cause of eczema.
Different Types of Eczema
Eczema is of different types which include:
- Atopic dermatitis.
- Seborrheic dermatitis.
- Stasis dermatitis.
- Nummular eczema.
- Contact dermatitis.
- Dyshidrotic eczema.
Is Eczema Contagious?
Eczema is not a contagious disease. Nobody can get or contact eczema by touching a person suffering from this illness. But yes, eczema runs in the family. If a family member is suffering from eczema, allergy or asthma; then there are increased chances of people related, getting eczema.
Symptoms of Eczema
The presenting symptoms of an eczematous eruption of the skin are:
- Patches which are itchy, dry with thickened skin.
- Increase in the creases of knees and elbow.
- Dry patches on the skin with open sores.
- Crusty appearance of the skin sores.
- Infection in the areas of skin.
Do Children Also Get Eczema?
It is observed that kids are more likely to get eczema if:
- They live in urban areas with high pollution levels.
- They live in cold climates.
- They are in higher social classes.
Treatment of Eczema
There is no cure for eczema. The main aim of treatment of eczema is to prevent the flare-up of the eczema symptoms. In many people, eczema goes away with time; while in some people, eczema persists for life.
The treatment for eczema is based on the patient’s age, symptoms and state of general health. Mostly the medications given for treating eczema are. topical corticosteroids, antifungal drugs, antiviral drugs, antihistamines and antibiotics. These drugs deal with the eczema symptoms and give relief from the discomfort caused by eczema.
Managing Eczema with Home Remedies
There are various home care solutions to prevent eczema flare-up and also to ease the eczema symptoms, such as:
- Moisturization is very important to prevent the stretching and cuts from the dry skin, which in turn prevents and heals eczema. It is better to apply a nourishing moisturiser within 3 minutes of bathing to lock in the moisture.
- Taking shower with lukewarm water helps with eczema.
- Using mild soap and cleansers is important to manage eczema.
- Avoiding drastic weather changes is also important to prevent an eczema flare-up.
- Avoiding the eczema triggers prevents eczema.
- Avoiding scratching the itchy eczematous skin is important to prevent secondary skin infections.
- Using humidifiers when the weather is cold and dry helps in preventing eczema flare-ups.
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