Here’s an inside scoop into the doctor’s office: If you go to your GP complaining of a red, itchy rash, your doctor’s first thought is “It’s probably eczema.” Why? Because – statistically – it probably is.
That doesn’t mean you don’t need to be examined. However, after just a quick look and a few questions, your doctor may very likely dispense a small tube of lotion to clear up your eczema in a few days.
Eczema is one of the most common skin conditions. If you’ve ever had a rash, it may very well have been it. So here are 10 facts for that day when you have the itch that you just can’t… stop…scratching:
- Eczema is also called “Atopic Dermatitis”, and due to this allergic component, eczema sufferers often develop hay fever and, or asthma.
- Eczema is an inherited, chronic inflammatory skin condition that usually appears in early childhood. Up to 20% of children suffer from eczema before the age of 5 years.
- The name eczema is derived from the Greek word meaning “to boil over” and describes the red, scaly and itchy patches of skin. Sometimes, tiny blisters containing clear fluid can form and the affected areas of skin can leak fluid. This is a sign that the inflammation has become infected. See your doctor immediately if the rash looks infected and you have a fever.
- The rash is usually seen on hands, feet, wrists, ankles, neck, upper chest, eyelids, the inside bend of elbows and knees. Babies often have a rash on the face and scalp.
- Eczema is caused by a person’s inability to repair damage to the skin barrier. Once the skin barrier is disrupted, moisture leaves the skin and the skin will become dry and scaly. Most people with eczema find that their symptoms are made worse by common aspects of daily life, such as hot weather, frequent showering, soap, and overheating in bed at night, tobacco smoke and some foods.
- Eczema is diagnosed from your history and examination, and cannot be cured. Eczema is not contagious.
- Topical and oral medication can treat the itch and cortisone based creams and medicines lessen the inflammation. Antibiotics are used to treat infections.
- Additional therapies include wet dressings, light therapy and stress management.
- Take 15 minutes long lukewarm baths to rehydrate the skin, use mild soaps without dyes and perfumes and follow by using moisturisers twice daily can help ease the symptoms.
- Wear cool, smooth textured cotton clothing and always wear protective gloves when using washing dishes, and wear cotton gloves inside rubber gloves.
Dr Ingrid de Beer for HelloDoctor.com