In this Health Article:
- What Causes Eczema?
- What Are the Types of Eczema?
- What Are the Symptoms of Eczema?
- What Are the Diagnosis & Tests for Eczema?
- What Are the Treatments Available for Eczema?
- How Do You Cope Up with Eczema?
- What Are the Ways to Prevent Eczema?
- Medications for Eczema available at InternationalDrugMart.com
- Self Care – The Bottom Line to Lower Your Eczema
IntroductionEczema is an allergic condition that affects the skin. It is also termed as dermatitis. The most common type of eczema is atopic dermatitis. It is a condition that makes your skin dry and itchy. Eczema is most common in babies and children.
What Causes Eczema?Though there is no exact reason of why eczema occurs, abnormal function of the immune system is believed to be a factor. People with eczema do have the IgE antibodies (immunoglobulin E) produced by the immune system as part of allergic reactions. Some common triggers of eczema include soaps, cosmetics, clothing, detergents, jewelry or sweat. Weather and Environmental allergens also play a big role in triggering eczema. Changes in temperature or humidity, or even psychological stress, also lead to outbreaks of eczema in some people. People with severe eczema usually also have hay fever and asthma. Family history might also trigger eczema in some people.
What Are the Types of Eczema?
Atopic dermatitis: It occurs in people who have genetic tendency to have allergies. In about 70 percent of cases, either the patient or a family member has allergic asthma, hay fever or food allergies. Atopic eczema appears early in life, usually in babies between 2 months and 18 months old. In babies, atopic eczema primarily affects the face, neck, ears and torso. It also appears on the tops of feet or the outside surface of elbows. Atopic eczema also is seen in older children, teen-agers and adults, where it usually involves the skin inside the creases of the inward bend of the elbow, knee, ankle, or wrist joints, the hands, or the upper eyelids.
Contact dermatitis: When irritants touch the skin, they can produce two types of contact dermatitis. Irritant contact dermatitis is direct irritation of the skin. Other one is allergic contact dermatitis, which develops when an allergic reaction occurs in the skin. Common causes of irritant contact dermatitis could be prolonged contact with mild irritants such as bubble bath, soap, sweat, saliva, urine and even water. Allergic contact dermatitis only occurs in people who have an allergy to a specific substance. The most common allergens are poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac.
Varicose eczema: Varicose eczema affects the lower legs of those in their middle to late years, being caused by poor blood circulation. Commonly the skin around the ankles is affected, becoming speckled, itchy and inflamed. Normally the treatment involves usage of emollients and steroid creams. If left untreated, the skin can break down, resulting in an ulcer.
Discoid eczema: An eczema that usually affects the middle aged men in their arms and legs. Suddenly few coin shaped areas of red skin develop normally on the trunk or lower legs. They become itchy and can weep fluid. Usually discoid eczema is treated with emollients (and steroid creams if necessary).
Hand eczema: This form of chronic eczema is limited to the hands. It can be related to atopic eczema or it can occur because of repeated hand washing or exposure to strong detergents. Occasionally, hand eczema is caused by an allergy, such as a latex allergy.
Nummular eczema: This type of eczema causes round, coin-sized patches of irritated skin, typically on the legs, arms or chest. It usually occurs in adults. It can be related to atopic dermatitis and, less often, allergic contact dermatitis. In a few cases, it represents an allergic reaction to a fungal infection such as athlete's foot. In this case, nummular eczema still appears typically on arms, legs or chest, even if the fungal infection is elsewhere on the body.
Asteatotic eczema: This dry-skin eczema causes fine cracks in the skin, usually first involving the lower legs, where there are fewer oil glands. It commonly occurs in the elderly, especially during winter months spent indoors in a low-humidity environment.
Stasis dermatitis: This type of eczema occurs on the calves, ankles and feet in people who have varicose veins or other conditions that lead to poor blood circulation in the lower legs. Leg swelling leads to itching, fine red bumps, skin darkening and, sometimes, ankle sores.
Lichen simplex chronicus: This form of eczema is a reaction to repeatedly scratching or rubbing the skin in one location. A nervous skin-scratching habit can lead to thickened, discolored skin on the wrist, the ankle, groin or the back of the neck. Skin picking can lead to smaller bump-like areas of the same type of rash called prurigo nodularis.
Seborrheic dermatitis (seborrhea): Some doctors consider seborrhea to be a type of eczema, although it creates a greasier rash than is usual for eczema conditions. This scaly dermatitis commonly appears on the scalp as cradle cap in infants or dandruff in adults. It commonly affects the face or neck around the nose and at the scalp line. It probably is triggered by the skin fungus Pityrosporum ovale.
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What Are the Symptoms of Eczema?Eczema is often referred to as the itch that rashes. Patches of chronically itchy, dry thickened skin, usually on the hands, neck, face and legs are typical signs of eczema. The initial symptom of eczema is itching which is followed by a rash. A rush burns and if scratched, it may ooze and become crusty, especially in young children. In children, the inner creases of the knees and elbows are often affected by eczema. Eczema also shows signs of skin lesions, patches of redness, scaling, and skin color may change in dark-skinned people.
What Are the Diagnosis & Tests for Eczema?Eczema is diagnosed by visual inspection. Your doctor asks you certain questions about the rash like how it appeared and how you feel. He/ She may scrape some scales off the rash and look them under the microscope to make sure the rash is not caused by fungus. The three key elements in identifying eczema are characteristic scaly rash, severe itching, and atopy, or a personal or family tendency toward asthma, hay fever, and other allergies.
What Are the Treatments Available for Eczema?The treatment for eczema involves various factors like the type of eczema, extent and severity of the rash and your medical history. The treatment involves control itching, reduce skin inflammation, clear infection, loosen and removes scaly lesions, reduce new lesions. Treatments are found to be effective in curing eczema; however, medical research indicates that the most effective plan for eczema is the use of combination of therapies. Topical medication is prescribed in most cases of eczema. This includes mild, medium or high-potency corticosteroid creams that decrease the inflammatory reaction in the skin. If itching is severe antihistamines may be prescribed. Phototherapy, a type of treatment that uses light therapy is prescribed in severe cases.
How Do You Cope Up with Eczema?You are not alone. More than half of American population is affected by eczema. Following are certain tips that would help your kid cope up with ear infections.
- Bath in lukewarm water.
- Use mild soaps or non-soap cleanser as recommended by your doctor.
- After bath, dry the skin and apply ointment or moisturizer.
- Keep your child’s finger nails shot so as to avoid from scratching or itching.
- Use 100% cotton clothes especially for your kids who are affected with eczema.
- Wash your child’s new cloth before putting them.
What Are the Ways to Prevent Eczema?Eczema is easier to control than to cure. Following are certain tips that might help you prevent ear infection.
- Avoid allergens that might trigger eczema or skin dryness.
- Avoid long steaming hot bath. This aggravates itching if you have eczema.
- Avoid using soaps and detergents that dry and irritate the skin.
- After bath, apply moisturizer or ointments on to your skin.
- Control your exposure to allergens like pet dander, dust, pollen, perfumes, soaps and rubber
- Wash your bed linens regularly to avoid contact with dust mites.
- Reduce your weight, if you are overweight. Obesity greatly increases the chances of excessive sweating which aggravates eczema.
- For infants, using mittens often prevents them from scratching themselves, but do make sure that the mitten material itself does not trigger rashes.
- If low humidity causes your skin to dry and crack, try using humidifiers.
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Self Care – The Bottom Line to Lower Your EczemaHere are few simple, effective eczema self-care tips that can reduce ear infections breakouts and control future breakouts.
- Remove whatever causes allergic reaction like the soaps.
- Avoid the climate which causes dry skin, try moving to other place.
- Avoid strenuous exercise during a flare as sweating irritates the rash
- If the allergy cause is not found, try applying non-prescription steroid cream (hydrocortisone) along with anti-itching lotion (menthol/camphor such as calamine).
- Avoid physical and mental stress.
- Eating right, light activity, and adequate sleep will help you stay healthy, which can help prevent flares.