Eczema



What is Eczema

Eczema is a common skin condition seen in general practice particularly among infants. It is also known as atopic dermatitis. It is a chronic (long term) condition that causes itchiness. Most frequently found on the face, wrists and inner surfaces of the elbows and knees. The affected skin may become thickened.


Usually children get eczema before the age of 5 years. Most children will grow up without this problem if they do not have allergies or asthma. It is not an infection.


Symptoms

  • Patches of chronically itchy, dry, thickened skin usually on the hands, neck, face and legs

  • Redness, scaling and changes in skin colour

  • Small bumps or blisters which ooze fluid


Causes

  1. It is a hereditary condition

  2. It is not an allergy itself, but allergies can trigger eczema

  3. It can develop on skin that is dry, itchy and sensitive to things like heat, wool and rough surfaces

  4. Food allergy or allergy to any substances can aggravate eczema

  5. It can be triggered by many things including: viral infections, irritants such as soaps, detergents, or perfumes and other infections


Treatment

Consult your doctor to confirm the diagnosis. The doctor will prescribe some or all of these :

  • Antihistamine for itchiness

  • Moisturizing lotion, cream or ointment to control the dryness and itchiness

  • Steroid creams for severe cases

  • Antibiotic if secondary bacterial infection is present

The above treatment only helps to control the symptoms but not to cure it. Eczema can disappear and reappear if expose to allergens.


What You Can Do

  • Keep your child in a cool room

  • Avoid hot bath and overdressing

  • Use soft cloth preferably cotton

  • Avoid contact with scratchy fabric

  • Do not use soap during bathing

  • Put a moisturizer after drying the child

  • Look for suspicious food allergy and confirm with the doctor


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