What is eczema?
Eczema is a general term for many types of skin inflammation (dermatitis). The most common form of eczema is atopic dermatitis (sometimes these two terms are used interchangeably). However, there are many different forms of eczema.
Eczema can affect people of any age, although the condition is most common in infants, and about 85% of those affected have an onset prior to 5 years of age. Eczema will permanently resolve by age 3 in about half of affected infants. In others, the condition tends to recur throughout life. People with eczema often have a family history of the condition or a family history of other allergic conditions, such as asthma or hay fever. Atopic dermatitis is believed to belong to a group of related diseases including food allergy, asthma, and allergic rhinitis that tend to develop in sequence, suggesting that atopic dermatitis early in life may lead to or predict later allergic diseases. The nature of the link between these conditions is inadequately understood. Up to 20% of children and 1%-2% of adults are believed to have eczema. Eczema is slightly more common in girls than in boys. It occurs in people of all races.
Eczema is not contagious, but since it is believed to be at least partially inherited, it is not uncommon to find members of the same family affected.
What are eczema symptoms and signs in babies, children, and adults?
Eczema most commonly causes dry, reddened skin that itches or burns, although the appearance of eczema varies from person to person and varies according to the specific type of eczema. Intense itching (pruritus) is generally the first symptom in most people with eczema. Sometimes, eczema may lead to blisters and oozing lesions, but eczema can also result in dry and scaly skin (xerosis is the medical term for dry skin). Repeated scratching may lead to thickened, crusty skin (lichenification).
While any region of the body may be affected by eczema, in children and adults, eczema typically occurs on the face, neck, and the insides of the elbows, knees, and ankles. In infants, eczema typically occurs on the forehead, cheeks, forearms, legs, scalp, and neck.
Eczema can sometimes occur as a brief reaction that only leads to symptoms for a few hours or days, but in other cases, the symptoms persist over a longer time and are referred to as chronic dermatitis.
Use of corticosteroid cream
Use of Ketoconazole drugs
Use of corticosteroid cream
Can eczema be prevented?
While there is no cure for eczema, you can take steps to manage your symptoms and lessen the severity of outbreaks. Such measures include
1. avoidance of over-bathing;
2. applying moisturizer frequently, especially after bathing;
3. bathing in warm, not hot, water and using a mild soap;
4. limiting or avoiding contact with known irritants like soaps, perfumes, detergents, jewelry, environmental irritants, etc.;
5. wearing loose-fitting clothing (cotton clothing may be less irritating for many people than wool or synthetic fibers);
6. the use of cool compresses to help control itching;
7. avoiding foods that cause allergic reactions;
8. exercise, meditation, or other stress-management techniques can help those for whom stress is a trigger;
9. wearing protective gloves for activities that require frequent submersion of the hands in water;
10. avoiding activities that make you hot and sweaty as well as abrupt changes in temperature and humidity;
11. using a humidifier in both winter (when the heating dries the atmosphere) and in the summer (if air conditioning is used because it depletes the moisture in the air);
12. maintaining cool temperatures in sleeping areas, because heat can lead to sweating that worsens itching and irritation;
13. practising good skin hygiene even when you are not having symptoms.