Do I have Eczema? Key Signs of Eczema and What you Should Do
Eczema is a common condition that affects 10-20% of children and 3% of adults. There is no cure but most children don’t have it after their tenth birthday and, although some people continue to suffer for most of their life, the condition can be managed.
Recognising Eczema and its causes
Eczema actually refers to a group of conditions so there are several different types:
- Contact dermatitis that is a rash that occurs after coming into contact with something
- Dyshidrotic eczema results from the skin not protecting itself correctly
- Nummular eczema appears as round sores after skin injury such as an insect bite or burn
- Seborrheic dermatitis appears where there are lots of oil glands and is known as dandruff when on the scalp
- Stasis dermatitis usually appears on the lower legs due to poor blood flow.
The most common type is atopic dermatitis, which is always itchy and generally appears as an oozing and crusty rash. For infants, it’s mainly on the face and scalp but can also be on the arms, legs, chest and back. For older children and teenagers, the rash is scaly and dry, generally appearing in the bends of elbows, behind knees, on necks, ankles and wrists. In adults, the rash will be dry and thick or scaly, usually on the face, hands, wrists, feet or the backs of the knees. It starts red and turns brown for fair skinned people or may affect skin pigments and so make the skin appear lighter or darker for those who have a darker skin.
Many people with eczema also have allergies and a reaction may trigger the rash. It is, however, not contagious so you can’t give it to other people.
Dealing with Eczema
Although there is no cure, eczema can be treated and actions taken to avoid flare-ups. The general aim is to prevent or reduce the itching because, as well as being annoying, it can result in infection, scarring and sleep loss.
The main treatments are creams and lotions that moisturise the dry skin, applying them after bathing when the skin is still moist. Cold compresses may also be applied to sooth the itching while antihistamine and hydrocortisone creams will also help.
Flare-ups can be increased by a variety of things such as stress, particular foods, household products such as certain soaps and detergents, and coarse fabrics. If you can establish what causes these flare-ups, you can take steps to avoid them. They may also occur when you are too hot or cold, or have a respiratory infection.
If nothing you do seems to have any effect, consult a doctor for help. Also do this if the condition seems to get worse or alters in any way, or if you have any blisters, warmth, redness or a fever that may indicate an infection. At Instant Consult, we can help with all sorts of ailments in addition to eczema and can do it much quicker and more conveniently than most doctors.
by Instant Consult