Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is an inflammatory skin condition that manifests itself as itchy, swollen, and red patches on the skin. Certain types of bacteria can also cause blisters. It impairs the ability of the skin to maintain its barrier function. Skin becomes more sensitive and susceptible to infection and dryness when the barrier function of the skin is compromised.
Eczema affects approximately 10% of the population in the US, with 31.6 million individuals suffering from various forms and stages of the disease. It is common in infants, with 10 percent to 20 percent of them developing it at some point in their lives. As children grow older, approximately half of them outgrow their illness or experience significant improvement. It affects both men and women in equal measure, and it is more common in people who have a personal or family history of asthma, allergic reactions to certain foods, or environmental allergies.
It is frequently seen in babies and young children. However, it can manifest in various ways in children, teenagers, and adults of all ages and backgrounds.
It is thought to be caused by an overactive immune system that reacts strongly to irritants.
It can be brought on by an aberrant reaction to proteins found in the body. In normal circumstances, the immune system ignores the proteins found in the body and attacks those proteins only that are found in invaders like bacteria or viruses. This system lost its ability to distinguish between these in eczema, resulting in inflammation.
When one or more symptoms emerge on your skin, it is called an eczema flare-up. These flare-ups are commonly triggered by:
· Chemicals contained in cleansers and detergents drying the skin
· Rough material such as wool
· Increased body temperature
· Food allergies
· Respiratory infections
· Bacteria, viruses, and fungi
· Changing hormone levels in women
An important aspect regarding this condition is that everyone’s eczema and its symptoms are unique. It may appear differently on you than it does on another adult or a child. It can manifest itself in various ways and in different parts of the body at different periods.
Mild eczema is usually always itchy, regardless of whatever region of your skin is affected. Itching might occur before the rash appears. In case of severe eczema, your skin may become dry, red, and cracked.
The symptoms in infants include an itchy rash leading to an oozing condition. This can happen on the legs, arms, and face.
Eczema symptoms in children include a rash on elbows, neck, wrist, and ankle, and behind the knees. The rash can be dry or scaly.
Eczema symptoms in adults include the appearance of rash on the face, feet, hands, and back of knees. The skin may become thick, dry, and scaly.
It cannot be detected by any test. Your doctor will most likely diagnose it by examining your skin and asking you a few questions. The doctor may employ patch testing to rule out other skin illnesses or diagnose eczema-related conditions.
Your doctor may prescribe allergy testing to look for irritants or triggers, as many individuals with eczema also have allergies. Allergy testing is very common in children with eczema.
It does not have a cure, but it does have treatments. These therapies include over-the-counter medicines, immunosuppressants, topical medications, phototherapy, and biologic pharmaceuticals, depending on the age and severity of the condition. Many people who suffer from this illness benefit from natural as well as alternative treatments.
Managing flares for most forms of eczema include a few simple steps:
· You should be aware of your triggers to avoid unnecessary exposure
· Create a bathing and moisturizing routine for yourself on a daily basis
· Use OTC and prescription medications consistently and as directed
Your doctor will prescribe lotions and creams to keep your skin moist because it is dry and irritating. Creams and ointments help your skin heal by reducing irritation and restoring moisture. Put them on multiple times throughout the day, including after a bath or shower. Since petroleum jelly and mineral oil build a thick barrier over your skin, they are effective.
A product containing coal tar may be recommended by the doctor. For more than 2,000 years, crude tar extract has been used to treat this skin condition and other skin conditions. It may help calm your skin, despite the fact that it is messy and many individuals do not appreciate the strong smell.
It usually disappears, as a kid grows older, while some children will continue to have the condition until adulthood.
You can manage your infant’s eczema or avoid future flare-ups by doing the following steps:
· Avoid skincare products with strong scents or other potential irritants.
· To avoid skin damage from excessive scratching, trim your child’s fingernails.
Wet wrap therapy can help you get the most out of any topical medication while also hydrating the skin. This will help save your child from hurting his or her skin.
When to see a doctor
Its symptoms can range from moderate to severe, and the condition makes you more susceptible to skin infections. Consult a doctor if you or your kid are suffering any of the following symptoms:
· Pain and discomfort that prevents you from resting or functioning normally
· Excessive eczema symptoms persist despite the use of over-the-counter or home remedies.
· Skin infections that are worsening, especially if they involve red streaks, pus, or yellow scabs
· Seek medical help right away if any or all of these symptoms are followed by a fever.
Eczema-affected skin is more susceptible to infections including impetigo, cold sores, and warts. Skin is our strongest defense against germs. This is why eczema patients are more susceptible to bacterial and viral infections. It is crucial to see a doctor. There is strong evidence that allergens absorbed via the skin can lead to the development of food allergies, asthma, and hay fever later in life. Treating eczema earlier and restoring normal skin barrier function may reduce the chance of these problems developing in the future.
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