What is Eczema?
Eczema is a general term encompassing various inflamed skin conditions. One of the most common forms of eczema is atopic dermatitis (or “atopic eczema”). Approximately 10 percent to 20 percent of the world population is affected by this chronic, relapsing, and very itchy rash at some point during childhood. Fortunately, many children with eczema find that the disease clears and often disappears with age. Eczema is a form of dermatitis, or inflammation of the upper layers of the skin. The term eczema is broadly applied to a range of persistent or recurring skin rashes characterized by redness, skin edema, itching and dryness, with possible crusting, flaking, blistering, cracking, oozing or bleeding. Areas of temporary skin discoloration sometimes characterize healed lesions, though scarring is rare.
How to prevent it:
Scientists believe that eczema is inherited, so there’s no way to prevent the condition. However, because specific triggers may tend to make it worse, flare-ups can be prevented or improved by avoiding possible triggers such as:
* animal dander
* dry winter air with little moisture
* allowing the skin to become too dry
* certain harsh soaps and detergents
* certain fabrics (such as wool or coarsely woven materials)
* certain skin care products, perfumes, and colognes (particularly those that contain alcohol)
* tobacco smoke
* some foods (Which foods may be eczema triggers depends on the person, but dairy products and acidic foods like tomatoes seem to be common culprits.)
* emotional stress
* excessive heat
Also, curbing the tendency to scratch the rash can prevent the condition from worsening and progressing to cause more severe skin damage or secondary infection.
In general, you can help to prevent eczema flare-ups by avoiding exposure to extreme temperatures, dry air, harsh soaps and bubble baths. Also, try using blankets and clothing made of cotton instead of more irritating fabrics such as wool or stiff synthetics, such as polyester. After showering or bathing, pat dry so you leave a little moisture on your skin and apply a moisturizing cream or lotion to trap moisture in the skin. Use a room humidifier to add moisture to indoor air during the winter heating season.
To help to prevent contact dermatitis, avoid skin contact with irritating chemicals, plants, jewelry and substances that trigger skin allergies. If you have severe varicose veins, you can help prevent stasis dermatitis by wearing compression stockings and by elevating your legs if you sit for long periods. Be alert for any reactions within 48 hours of using a medication. Antibiotics applied to the skin and taken by mouth both can trigger a skin reaction such as hives or more sensitive skin. If this happens, call your doctor to get a substitute medication.
Eczema outbreaks can usually be avoided with some simple precautions. The following suggestions may help to reduce the severity and frequency of flare-ups: Use the cream or ointment which your doctor recommends on a regular basis, and as a soap substitute, to keep the skin supple and to prevent drying. Avoid scratching when you itch. If you can not stop yourself, then gently rubbing, with the flat of your hand, is less likely to do damage. Avoid exposure to chemicals and strong detergents. It is usually better to avoid using biological agents altogether. Use protective gloves when you use such things in the house or at work. If you have been found to be allergic to a specific substance, avoid contact with it, if this is feasible. Use your treatments according to the instructions from your doctor and the pharmacist.