Neurodermatitis is chronic and itchy skin disease. It is also known as lichen simplex chronicus. The first symptom of this disease is itching over a patch of skin and eventually, this itching gets worse and the urge to scratch keeps on increasing. This is not a serious condition but due to excessive itching, the patient might suffer from disturbed sleep at night. There is no cure for neurodermatitis and it lasts life long once you have it. Due to itching, the skin becomes thick and leather-like. There are some medications and topical creams available that can help you control the itching and reduce inflammation over the skin.(1)
What Happens To Untreated Neurodermatitis & When To Go To Doctor?
If neurodermatitis is left untreated or any type of dermatitis for that matter if left untreated can lead to the following complications:
Bacterial Infections Over The Skin: If you have eczema or dermatitis, you are at a higher risk of developing infection by an organism named staphylococcus aureus. It is bacteria that grow on inflamed or broken skin. If you have symptoms like soreness or swelling of the skin, oozing of some fluid from the skin lesion, yellow layer formation over the skin lesion or fever, then you might be suffering from bacterial infection by staphylococcus aureus so you must immediately contact a health care professional.
Fungal Infections Over The Skin: People with dermatitis or eczema are prone to develop a fungal infection due to yeast like candida. Candida grows over moist and warm skin. The symptoms of candida infection are scaling of the skin, redness of the skin, the formation of blisters over the skin, soreness of skin and cracked skin. The candidate infection may also be present at other sites in the body like in the mouth.
Herpes Simples Infection: People who have dermatitis or eczema of any kind have somewhat low resistance towards the virus names herpes simplex. Herpes simplex is the virus responsible for causing cold sores. The symptoms of herpes simplex virus infection are painful eczema, blisters that are filled with fluid and fever. If you have neurodermatitis, you must stay away from people who have cold sores in order to prevent yourself from the infection.
Erythroderma: Erythroderma is also known as exfoliative dermatitis. This is also a kind of inflammatory skin disease. When neurodermatitis is left untreated, erythroderma becomes worse and its severity increases.
When To Go To Doctor?
If you have any symptoms of neurodermatitis like severe itching and thickening of skin or scaling of the skin, you must consult a dermatologist for the treatment. When you find any of the symptoms indicating complication, you must immediately contact a dermatologist. When you have severe itching and the intensity of itching is so severe that you cannot sleep at night, you must contact the doctor.(2)
Remedies For Neurodermatitis
Cover The Skin In Cold Climate: When the climate is cold, it makes the skin dry and this leads to flaring up of eczema seen in neurodermatitis. So, to prevent this, you must keep your skin covered up properly so that it doesn’t dry.
Stay Away From Heat: Due to heat, there is dehydration of the skin and this can make the itching even worse. So, make sure that you stay away from heat. Don’t sit near fire or other heat sources.
Use Gentle Soaps: You must not use harsh soaps because these contain harmful chemicals that can make your skin dry. You must use gentle soaps that don’t produce more lather. Also, avoid products like scrubs that contain rough particles that can irritate your skin.
Take Proper Baths: It is necessary to keep the skin moisturized so bathing is very important for people who have neurodermatitis. For some people, bathing can make the skin lesions worse due to some reasons like using harsh soaps, using either too hot or too cold water for bathing and not moisturizing the skin after the bath. Taking showers for a long time can wash away the natural oils and natural moisture produced by the body, so you must avoid bathing for a long time. You must bathe for more than 10-15 minutes. You must make sure that you moisturize your skin within 3 minutes after showering.(3)
If neurodermatitis is left untreated, you may suffer from many complications like bacterial infection with staphylococcus aureus bacteria, fungal infection with candida, infection with the virus named herpes simplex causing cold sore and there might be worsening of other skin ailments that you have like erythroderma.
When you have any of the symptoms of neurodermatitis like severe itching, thickening of the skin, etc. you must visit the doctor. If you already have neurodermatitis, you must visit the doctor if your symptoms are not relieved and if you have any of the new symptoms that point towards any of the complications mentioned above.
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