Eczema / Atopic Dermatitis
Eczema is a skin condition that causes patches of dry, scaly, extremely itchy skin.
What happen in our body?
Eczema usually results from a hypersensitivity, or allergy-like sensitivity, causing inflammation. The inflammation causes the skin to become itchy and scaly. Eczema is not a true allergy. Rather, it is a condition in which the skin may react or become sensitive to allergens, which are allergy-causing substances.
Causes and Risks of the condition
Eczema is usually related to a history of hypersensitivity or reaction in the body similar to an allergy. Although eczema is more common in babies and young children, older children and adults may also experience eczema. It seems to be more evident in those with a history of asthma or hay fever. It is also more common in a person who has a family history of eczema, hay fever, or other respiratory allergies.
Flare-ups of eczema may occur with exposure to environmental factors, such as
- Dry climate or high temperatures,
- Chlorine and other irritating substances.
- Foods that may cause worsening of symptoms include peanut butter, milk, or eggs.
Signs and Symptoms
- Extremely itchy patches of skin. The skin may not always itch. The itch can come and go.
- In infants, these patches tend to develop on the scalp and face, especially on the cheeks. Teens and young adults are more likely to see patches on their hands and feet. Other common sites for these patches are the bends of the elbows, backs of knees, ankles, wrists, face, neck, and upper chest. The patches may not always appear in these areas; they can occur anywhere on the skin, including around the eyes and on the eyelids.
- Rash. This often appears after the itchy skin is scratched or rubbed, but not always. A rash can occur even when the skin is not scratched.
- Skin can swell, crack, and “weep” clear fluid, crust, and scale.
- Patches may bubble up and ooze or be scaly, dry, and red.
- Without proper treatment, the skin thickens to protect itself from further damage caused by scratching. Dermatologists call this thickening of the skin “lichenification.”
- Eczema causes dry, red patches of skin that are extremely itchy.
- The patches occur most often behind the knees, in the folds of the elbows and wrists, and on the neck, ankles, and feet.
- The itching worsens with heat, stress, or abrasions to the areas from scratching.
Types of Eczema
- Also known as “eczema,” atopic dermatitis is a chronic (long-lasting) skin condition. It causes dry, itchy, irritated skin that can require daily care. Most people (90%) develop atopic dermatitis before age 5.
- Atopic dermatitis is not contagious, so there is no need to worry about catching it or giving it to someone. This skin condition tends to run in families. People who get atopic dermatitis usually have family members who have eczema, asthma, or hay fever.
- Contact with everyday objects — from shampoo and jewelry to food and water — causes this very common type of eczema. When the contact leads to irritated skin, the eczema is called irritant contact dermatitis. If an allergic reaction develops on the skin after exposure, the eczema is called allergic contact dermatitis
- Occurring only on the palms of the hands, sides of the fingers, and soles of the feet, this common eczema typically causes a burning or itching sensation and a blistering rash. Some patients say the blisters resemble tapioca pudding.
- Hand dermatitis is not one specific type of eczema as is atopic dermatitis or seborrheic dermatitis. Any type of eczema that develops on the hands can be classified as “hand dermatitis.” Why this special classification? Hand dermatitis often has unique causes — frequently job-related — and can require special treatment considerations.
- Imagine an itch so intense that no amount of scratching brings relief and you have some idea of what it feels like to have neurodermatitis. This common eczema develops when nerve endings in the skin become irritated, triggering a severe itch-scratch-itch cycle. Common causes of nerve irritation include an insect bite and emotional stress.
- Often appearing after a skin injury, such as a burn, abrasion, or insect bite, the hallmark of this common eczema is unique, coin-shaped (nummular) or oval lesions. One or many patches can develop that may last for weeks or months.
- Occupational dermatitis is not one specific type of eczema. It is any type of eczema caused by a person’s workplace. This distinct classification came about because occupational dermatitis has unique causes and a large number of people develop eczema on the job.
- Usually beginning on the scalp as oily, waxy patches, this common type of eczema sometimes spreads to the face and beyond. A severe case, while rare, produces widespread lesions. Like most types of eczema, seborrheic dermatitis tends to flare in cold, dry weather.
- Developing in the lower legs, this common eczema occurs when circulation becomes sluggish. Poor blood flow causes fluids to build up, and the legs swell. Over time, this build up of fluids affects the skin, causing a rash that usually itches, painful sores, as well as thinning and discolored skin. Effective treatment involves treating not only the dermatitis but the circulatory problem as well.
Prevention of Eczema
- Eczema cannot be prevented, but progression of symptoms may be decreased by avoiding allergens that seem to cause flare-ups. Controlling stress or anxiety-producing situations may also decrease risk of eczema flare-ups.
Long-term effects of Eczema
Ø Long-term effects of eczema include infection and scarring.
Ø Other long-term effects may include emotional frustration from scarring.
Ø Children will usually outgrow eczema by about 6 years of age, although sometimes improvement is not seen until puberty or adulthood.
Ø Long-term effects can usually be lessened with early treatment.
Risks to others
Eczema is not contagious, but if the lesions become infected, the organism causing the infection may be contagious.
Treatment may include the following recommendations:
ü Avoid irritants that tend to worsen symptoms.
ü Avoid scratching the lesions.
ü Keep the skin moist with lotions and ointments to reduce symptoms.
ü Avoid excessive bathing and lengthy exposure to baths to reduce flare-ups.
ü Don't bathe babies with soap too frequently. Mild neutral soaps are recommended as needed, and bubble baths should be avoided.
ü Keep infants' and children's fingernails cut short to avoid irritating lesions from scratching.
ü Avoid heavy ointments such as petroleum jelly or vegetable shortening. These can make symptoms worse because these products block the sweat glands.
ü Medications used to treat eczema include the following:
Homeopathy medicines works well in Eczema / Atopic Dermatitis
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