Eczema which in medical terms is known by the name of Atopic dermatitis is common dermatological condition causing the skin to become erythematous and itchy. This condition is seen mostly in infants and children but even adults tend to get it. Eczema is a chronic condition and tends to flare up from time to time with periods of remission in between.
Eczema is often seen in association with conditions like hay fever and asthma. There is no cure for this condition but treatments are available to calm down the symptoms and prevent new outbreak. This is usually done by applying moisturizers to the affected area of the skin regularly and avoiding harsh cosmetic products like soaps.
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The function of a healthy skin is to keep the skin surface moist and protect the body from various allergens, bacteria and other harmful substances. Eczema results when due to certain gene variations the skin is not able to perform its natural function. This results in the skin losing its moisture and become vulnerable to infections due to exposure to harmful environmental allergens. In some instances, intake of certain food products may also result in a flare up of Eczema, especially in children.
The symptoms of eczema are quite variable and differ from individual to individual. These include:
- Dry skin
- Itching, worse at night
- Red patches, especially on the hands, feet, ankles, face, wrists and upper chest
- Raised lesions with fluid oozing from them when scratched
- Cracked scaly skin
The primary treatment for Eczema is the use of antihistamines which for relief from itching. These medications work by blocking the production of histamines by the immune system of the body that results in allergic reactions on exposure to allergens. Some of the common antihistamines for Eczema include cetirizine, Benadryl, and Allegra.
Low dose steroids are also sometimes prescribed for symptom relief from eczema. In case of low dose steroid are ineffective then high doses may have to be given by the treating physician. Oral corticosteroids are prescribed by physicians in cases of severe Eczema. They are only given for a limited period of time due to their significant side effect profile.
For infections as a result of Eczema, the physician may prescribe a course of antibiotics. It is highly recommended for people with eczema to consult with their physician for the best treatment plan.