Eczema is a very common skin condition in children and adults. Your doctor may refer to your eczema as atopic dermatitis. It causes dry, itchy, scaly and red skin. For some, this problem is ongoing with frequent flare-ups that can be extremely uncomfortable and affect your daily life.
What causes eczema?
The outermost layer of the skin in people with eczema is usually drier and more sensitive. They react easily to certain allergens and irritants in the environment. This dryness and sensitivity usually runs in the family.
How will my doctor treat my eczema?
Your doctor may give you the following treatment to relieve the symptoms of your eczema:
a) Moisturizing creams or ointments
These keep your skin moist and prevent your skin from becoming dry. Dry skin causes itchiness that encourages scratching. Intense scratching will make it worse at times results in a skin break, increasing your chance of skin infection.
b) Steroid creams and ointments
These are applied to your skin to control skin sensitivity, relieve itching and redness. In severe cases, your doctor might prescribe steroid pills for you to take for a short period of time.
c) Antihistamine pills
Antihistamines are medications that people often take for allergies. They help relieve itching, especially at night, and can also help sleep.
There are other treatments that include wet dressings, injectable medications, and medications that change the way the immune system works. Your doctor may recommend these treatments if you do not get better. Your doctor may also refer you to a skin specialist if your skin problem is severe.
What things can I do at home to feel better?
• Use moisturizer generously
• Apply at least twice daily, especially immediately after bathing while the skin is moist
• Keep the air in your home moist by using a cool-mist humidifier or vaporizer
• Take medications to reduce skin itching and irritation
• Maintain a cool temperature at home. Sudden temperature changes and sweating will worsen the symptoms of eczema
• Use hypoallergenic fabric for clothing and bed sheets
• Relax and maintain a calm mood. Some eczema can be worsened by stress and worry
• Avoid to use over-heated water during bathing. Hot water irritates and dries the skin
• Avoid to use harsh soaps and cleansing products
• Avoid to use perfumes
• Don’t scratch
Do I need to seek further help from my doctor?
Please contact your doctor if:
a) Your skin condition does not improve after using at-home care
b) The skin dryness gets worse
c) You suspect your skin becomes infected. A skin infection may have the following symptoms:
d) The itchiness is disturbing your sleep
With reference to www.uptodate.com