What is Eczema?
Eczema is also known as dermatitis. It is a group of skin diseases that causes inflammation. The common characteristics of eczema include itchy skin, redness or rashes, and dryness. Coverage varies with each person, and can be small to almost full body coverage.
There are different types of dermatitis: atopic dermatitis, allergic contact dermatitis, irritant contact dermatitis, and stasis dermatitis.
Signs and Symptoms
Patients who suffer from eczema describe having itchy skin that often results in blisters, rashes, and redness. There are also blisters and bumps that become thickened skin once healed. The texture of the skin becomes flaky and rough.
Because there are different types of eczema, the symptoms also vary. Some patients feel burning sensations on the affected area. There are also some that have dermatitis in private parts of their body.
The actual cause of dermatitis is unknown, but study has shown two major factors that affect it.
- Genetic: Scientific studies have shown and proven that a number of genes contribute to eczema. Apparently, a lack of a certain skin protein causes eczema to be inherited.
- Environmental: It is common for patients with allergies to house dust mites to also suffer from eczema as well as asthma. Some studies have also shown that less exposure due to unusually clean environment may also trigger eczema. Sudden exposure to dust and bacteria can cause eczema.
Risks and Prevention
It is advised that patients do not get smallpox vaccine as it may cause eczema vaccinatum and it is potentially fatal.
There are patients who have been told to avoid certain types of food during pregnancy or breastfeeding, but these have not been given due evidence. Babies who were born with eczema were still found to have eczema that runs in the family.
Usually, eczema breakouts are triggered by something that irritates the skin. For example, exposure to certain surfaces, material or household products can cause allergic reactions leading to eczema flare-ups.
There is no cure for eczema, but it can be controlled. The most important thing is to relieve the itch and sooth the skin. Here are some of the widely used remedies for it:
- Most patients are allergic to house dust mites, so it is important to make sure the house is dusted and vacuumed regularly.
- It is advised for eczema patients to bathe regularly so that the skin is clean and should be dried completely.
- Patients are suggested to consume eggs moderately.
- Moisturizers can soothe dry and flaky skin. Lathering moisturizers on affected areas once or twice daily is ideal.
- All that itch can cause patients to lose sleep. Generic antihistamine is advised so that it can temporarily relieve the itch for a better good night’s sleep.
- Acupuncture has been widely used as an alternative treatment for eczema. Patients report that this type of treatment relieves the itch and relaxes them as well.
- A popular home remedy involves using a cold compress on the affected areas and then evaporation. The cold compress contains a diluted vinegar solution or sometimes just tepid tap water. Evaporation is done using a fan to blow dry the infected skin.