ECZEMA

What is Eczema?

Eczema also called dermatitis is a reaction produced by the body in response to allergens (pollen, dust etc.) /chemicals/cosmetic products/drugs/lack of moisture.

 

Causes

Eczema is a broad term encompassing spectrum of conditions

  • Atopic dermatitis: Lack of moisture and break in skin barrier system

  • Allergic contact dermatitis: External or internal allergens

  • Irritant contact dermatitis: Irritants like chemicals

  • Xerotic Eczema: Lack of moisture and break in skin barrier system due to ageing/drugs

  • Pompholyx/Dyshydrotic eczema: Change of season/exposure to chemicals or cosmetic products.

 

Presentation

  • Age of occurrence

       Atopic dermatitis: 1-5 years

       Xerotic eczema: after 50-6- years

       Others: 20-30 years

  • Worsens in winter

  • In every form off eczema, common feature is dry, itchy, scaly skin.

  • Occasionally discharge of fluid or pus is seen.

Specific features

  •  Fluid containing visible blisters over area of contact : Irritant contact dermatitis

  •  Red, itchy,scaly patches on face and body folds with history of allergy to food/seasonal allergies/asthma : Atopic dermatitis

  •  Dry, itchy blackish coin shaped areas of skin mainly on legs : Nummular eczema

  •  Minute itchy blisters mainly on palms : Pompholyx/Dyshydrotic eczema

 

Complications

  • Asthma and hay fever. Eczema sometimes precedes these conditions. 

  • Chronic itchy, scaly skin. A skin condition called neurodermatitis (lichen simplex chronicus) starts with a patch of itchy skin. You scratch the area, which makes it even itchier. Eventually, you may scratch simply out of habit. This condition can cause the affected skin to become discolored, thick and leathery.

  • Skin infections. Repeated scratching that breaks the skin can cause open sores and cracks. These increase the risk of infection from bacteria and viruses, including the herpes simplex virus.

  • Irritant hand dermatitis. This especially affects people whose work requires that their hands are often wet and exposed to harsh soaps, detergents and disinfectants.

  • Sleep problems. The itch-scratch cycle can cause poor sleep quality.

ECZEMA / DERMATITIS: Tips for Managing

Baths and moisturizers play an important role in treating eczema.

  • Bathing tips

  1. Bathe in warm — not hot — water.

  2. Use cleanser only when needed and make sure the cleanser is mild and fragrance-free. 

  3. After bathing, gently pat skin partially dry.

  4. Apply medicine only dry and use the medicine as directed. 

  5. Apply moisturizer on top of the medicine and to the rest of your skin. 

 

  • Tips for choosing a moisturiser
  1. Consider choosing a thick cream or ointment.

  2. Use fragrance-free products, so consider petroleum jelly — an inexpensive, fragrance-free product that works well. 

  3. When selecting a product, “trial and error” sampling of different types may help to identify the best moisturiser.

 

  • Tips to ease discomfort

  1. For best results, apply moisturizer at least twice a day. This prevents dryness and cracking.

  2. If you have severe itching and scratching, ask dermatologist about wet wrap therapy. This can reduce swelling and lessen the desire to scratch.

  3. Keep your fingernails short and smooth. This decreases the likelihood that scratching will puncture the skin.

  4. Keep temperature and humidity levels comfortable. Avoid situations in which the air is extremely dry, or where your child may sweat and overheat. This is the most common trigger of the itch/scratch cycle.

 

  • Clothes-washing tips

  1. Using a laundry detergent made for sensitive skin may be beneficial.

  2. Use enough water for adequate rinsing.

  3. Remove tags as it can rub against the skin, causing irritation. 

  4. Wash your new clothes before wearing. This will remove excess dyes and fabric finishers, which can irritate the skin.

Myths v/s reality

  • Eczema is not caused by lack of personal hygiene and excessive use of cosmetic products and soap can worsen it

  • From newborn to old people anyone can get eczema,no age is immune to it.

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