Eczema Treatment

What Is Eczema? What are the Causes of Eczema?

Eczema is also known as atopic dermatitis, or atopic eczema (the most common form of eczema). Atopic eczema mainly affects children, but it can continue into adulthood or start later in life.

Eczema is a chronic skin condition in which the skin becomes itchy, reddened, cracked and dry. It affects both males and females equally. Atopy is the hereditary predisposition toward developing some hypersensitivity reactions, chronic urticaria, and some types of eczema.

 

The symptoms of eczema

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The skin may be broken in places. Some areas of the skin are cracked. Scratching may also result in areas of thickened skin. The skin usually feels dry. Many areas of skin are itchy, and sometimes raw if scratched a lot.
Itching usually worse at night. Some areas of skin become red and inflamed. Some inflamed areas develop blisters and weep (ooze liquid). The skin will be much more itchy. Itchiness and scratching will make the skin redder, raw and very sensitive. The skin will be much more scaly and drier.

The raised bumps will be more pronounced and may leak fluid. Blisters will appear. The affected areas may beinfected with bacteria.

 

The following may worsen the symptoms of atopic eczema

  • Prolonged hot showers or baths.
  • Allowing the skin to stay dry.
  • Mental stress.
  • Sweating.
  • Rapid temperature changes.
  • Dry air
  • Dust.
  • Sand.
  • clothing, such as wool.


The three most common allergens for atopic eczema are

House dust mites (bed bugs) ,Pollen ,Pet fur .


Foods that may make atopic eczema symptoms worse

Milk (cow’s) ,Eggs, Nuts ,Soya ,Wheat


Diagnosis of eczema

Laboratory Tests:

Hemogram

A raised eosinophil count indicates allergic statein aperson.However it does not help us in
knowing the cause of the allergy.


Serum IgE levels

When more than 400 I.U./ml suggest Atopic Eczema


IDENTIFYING TRIGGER FACTORS DURING DIAGNOSIS

CONTACT ALLERGY PATCH TEST

We apply patch tests in patients with eczema, to find out whether their skin condition may be caused contact allergy.

A range of substances can be used for patch testing. Standard Series of allergens (or similar) is applied to nearly every patient.. Each substance (known as an allergen) has been tested to find the best concentration to demonstrate an allergic reaction without causing irritation to those who are not allergic to the material.



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The test is extremely useful not only in pinning down the cause of allergy but also to rule out certain causes which are at the back of the mind of patient and doctor.


THE SKIN PRICK ALLERGY TEST

is used to find the cause of certain allergies.

Suspected causes of allergy (such as pollens, danders, foods, etc) are mixed with liquid to make a solution. A drop of each solution is then placed on the skin – usually the forearm. Up to 10 or 12 drops of different solutions may be placed on the skin. Then, the skin beneath each drop is pricked with a needle. This is usually painless as just the very surface of the skin is pricked. However, this is enough to let a tiny amount of solution into the skin.



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The skin is then observed for a reaction. If a reaction occurs, it happens within 20-30 minutes.

A positive reaction is when the skin under a drop of solution becomes red and itchy. Also, a white, raised swelling called a weal surrounds the red central area of any skin reaction. A weal takes about 15-20 minutes to reach a maximum size, and then fades over a few hours.

A negative reaction is when the skin remains normal. This means that you are not allergic to the substance in the solution.

When the causative or triggering factors are found,patient is advised accordingly to stay away from them,in order
to avoid the allergy.


What is the treatment for eczema?

Avoid trigger factors

An allergy test will establish a list of factors that trigger eczema flares. The patient should try to avoid them a much as possible.

There are a variety of treatments which focus on the symptoms, as well as strategies to avoid triggers, and may improve the patient’s quality of life considerably. A significant proportion of children with atopic eczema will find that their symptoms will improve as they get older.

Long standing cases of eczema which are resistant to any other treatment are amenable to intralesional injection therapy. The injections are made of suitable combination of Hyalase,triamcinolone acetonide and normal saline.



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Complementary therapies

These are very popular among patients with atopic eczema. They include aromatherapy, massage, homeopathy, and some herbal remedies, to mention but a few. It is important to remember that although patients do report benefits, a lot of information one reads in books and on the internet is anecdotal. For therapy to be convincing, it should undergo proper clinical tests, usually carried out and compared to a placebo (dummy treatment). Before undergoing any complementary/alternative therapy, check it out carefully.


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