Eczema is a skin disorder. The features include rashes with itching and scaly appearance of the skin. Most commonly occurring eczema is known as atopic eczema. People who are suffering from asthma or hay fever are highly susceptible. The atopic condition refers to the group of disorders which originate from the hypersensitive reaction to various agents.
There are evidences that, Eczema is seen in people with poor immunity. The Children, who receive breast feeding till 4 to 6 months of their life, are at lower risk of getting eczema.
- Hypersensitivity reaction: it’s a type of an allergic reaction in the skin. It is commonly seen in young infants and growing kids. The hypersensitivity of the skin to the various allergic agents generally disappears with the age In most of the cases.
- Known cases of asthma, Hay fever: They are highly susceptible.
- Family history of Eczema
- Hypersensitivity reactions secondary to the contact with dust, smoke, fumes, pollen, mold, animal dander
- Recurrent Colds
- Exposure to water and cold environments
- Exposure to environmental pollutants
- Food items such as milk, eggs, fish, wheat, peanuts, pulses, soy etc.
- Deodorants, sprays
- Dry skin, excessive sweating
- The person suffering from Eczema generally presents rashes as below mentioned depending upon the age.
- In younger children the skin lesions or rashes generally appear on scalp, hands, face, and feet. The rashes are oozing with the fluid.
- Common areas of rashes in the adolescent or adult population are the back of the knees, elbows and also hands, feet and neck.
Overall the presentation has following notable symptoms.
- Rashes on the skin
- Pruritis or itching sensation
- Localized redness, with elevated skin patches
- Blister formation with fluid buildup inside
- Rough skin resulting from scratching
- Ear discharges
- Skin pigmentation
The Physician will ask the detailed medical history of the patient and family history of similar problems. The physical examination for location of lesions and severity of the condition plays a vital role to confirm the diagnosis.
The following sets of tests are ordered before concluding the diagnosis.
- Allergy Skin Testing: It is done primarily to find out the allergens troubling the skin.
- A biopsy skin: Rarely done as it does not help much.
Keeping away from scratching the rashes
- Use of a cold compress, smooth rounded material to relieve itching
- Use of mild antihistaminic as per the Physician’s advice
- Keeping short fingernails, using gloves in hands
- Using skin moisturizers
Environmental changes, low temperature, stress are known factor to worsen the condition. Handling these effectively is very crucial in order to look healthy. Also Keeping away from the irritants which cause allergic reaction is also very important. Some of these are as mentioned below.
- Foods items such as eggs, milk, soy, wheat, pulses, peanuts and so on
- Wool and lanolin
- Animal hair and dander
- Certain soaps or detergents which cause irritations
- Triggers that cause allergy symptoms
- Treatment with Steroid: A cortisone cream or lotion in mild cases. Oral or intravenous doses are used in severe cases.
- Treatment with mild antihistaminic as per the physician’s advice. In rare cases, strong doses are required.
- Topical immunomodulators are the set of the drugs which are used to deal with immunity problems, except in kids of below 2 years of age. E.g. Pimecrolimus.
- Coal tar or anthralin, ceramides containinmg topical lotions or creams.
- In many cases, the skin scratches are a cause of bacterial invasion. Antibiotics are prescribed to deal with it.
- Oral immunosuppressants
- Phototherapy with Ultraviolet rays A or B.
Eczema can be kept under control if proper precautions are taken. Timely treatment of the symptoms also plays a major role. Eczema has a high rate of recurrence in case of the adult sufferers. As mentioned, there are multiple risks and causative factors which cause the problems. Presence of more than two risk factors together is also an indicator that there will be poor prognosis and high recurrence rates.
In comparison, Eczema in children gives good results with the treatment and has good prognosis and less chances of recurrence.
Complications of Disease
- Scratching may cause bacterial invasion and infection
- Permanent scars
- Participation restriction or decrease in social participation.