Eczema is also known as atopic dermatitis. Eczema is a skin condition that appears as a reddish rash accompanied by mild to severe itching. This condition is more likely to occur in people whose immediate family members also experience Eczema.
Most people are likely to experience this condition for the first time as a child. Commonly, the condition fades as the child grows into an adult, however for some people, they experience symptoms throughout their lives.
The most common areas to be affected are near the extremities of the body, which include hands, wrists, feet, ankles, neck, chest and sometimes even around the eyes. However, symptoms may appear on any part of the body. The condition generally presents itself for a period of time before disappearing and then reappearing.
While there is no conclusive evidence, many scientists believe the culprit of the disease could be a faulty immune system. This is justified by an examination of the triggers that usually set off an outbreak of eczema. Triggers can include rough clothing such as wool or other scratchy materials. It can also include soaps or other foaming substances that have irritants in them. Dry skin can be a problem, as can smoke. Certain foods have also been implicated in triggering this condition such as eggs, milk, fish, soy or wheat.
While this condition has no known cure at this time, there are things a person can do to help relive the itchiness. First of all, be aware that scratching the rash can increase levels of itchiness. The best bet when itching occurs is to immediately apply a cool, damp cloth or compress. This, followed by anti-itching creams such as corticosteroid creams and ointments can help get rid of the itch. Antihistamines may also be prescribed as well as immunomodulators.
In some cases, getting a healthy dose of UV rays is advised, whether directly from the sun or through UV lights. This helps boost the immune system. The only serious repercussions from Eczema are from the rash that appears around the eye. This can cause permanent eye damage. Less serious complications include the potential for infection when the rash is scratched and is opened up to outside elements.
Scratching may also cause a âweeping’ effect, in which a clear substance is emitted from the rash. This may turn crusty afterwards. Aside from appearing as a red rash, eczema may also appear as patches of red, brown or grayish skin.
The best bet for long-term avoidance of the condition is to avoid potential triggers. This means staying away from food irritants, certain clothing and harsh chemicals. Keeping a diary may help determine the most likely causes of an eczema outbreak.
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