Eczema is also known as atopic dermatitis which is a condition that makes the skin of a person red and itchy. This condition is common in children but it can occur at any age. It is long lasting and tends to flare sometimes. It may occur along with hay fever and asthma.
No cure has been found for atopic dermatitis. But treatments and self-care measures can relieve itching and prevent new outbreaks. For example, it helps to avoid harsh soaps, moisturize your skin regularly, and apply medicated creams or ointments.
Signs and symptoms of eczema vary from individual to individual. Following are the common signs that a person suffering from eczema will show:
Eczema usually develops before the age of 5 years and it can continue into adolescence and adulthood.
You must see a doctor in case you or your child:
Seek immediate medical help for your child in case he or she has a fever or the rash looks infected.
Eczema is caused by gene variation which affects the ability of skin to provide protection. This further allows the skin to be affected by environmental factors, allergens and irritants. In children, food allergies can also play a role in causing eczema.
The main risk factor for eczema is having a personal or family history of eczema, hay fever, asthma and allergies.
Complications of eczema can include:
The following prevention measures can help to prevent attacks of eczema and minimize the drying effects of bathing:
No lab test is needed to diagnose eczema. Your doctor can diagnose by reviewing your medical history and examining your skin. He or she can use patch testing or some other tests to find out other skin conditions that accompany your eczema.
In case you suspect some food to cause rashes in your child then tell the doctor.
Atopic dermatitis can be continual thus you can require trying different treatments over months or years to control the condition. Signs and symptoms can return even if treatment is successful.
It’s important to diagnose the condition early so that its treatment can be started. In case regular moisturizing and other home remedies fail to treat your condition then your doctor can recommend you one or more of the following treatments:
Treatment for infantile eczema includes:
Consult the doctor of your baby in case these measures do not improve the rash or if the rash appears infected. Your baby can require a prescription medicine to treat the rash or an infection. The doctor may also prescribe an oral antihistamine which can lessen the itch and cause drowsiness so as to ease discomfort and nighttime itching.
Self-care measures that can decrease the itching and soothe inflamed skin are as follows:
Eczema can be stressful, embarrassing or frustrating especially for adolescents and young adults. It can disturb their sleep and may result in depression. You should seek psychological support from counsellors, friends or family.