Eczema or atopic dermatitis is a health condition in which an itchy rash irritates the skin. It is frequent in children, but can also be found in adults. This skin condition is most often a chronic one, with periodic flares and exacerbation. This disorder has no cure, but can be managed for relief of symptoms.
There is no specific cause behind eczema. When skin lacks its protective moisture and natural defense mechanisms, it becomes vulnerable to irritants. This may be a mechanism behind the formation of this condition. People with positive family history or a personal history of asthma, hay fever, or other allergies also have a greater chance of eczema.
The symptoms of eczema vary from person to person and can differ depending on severity. Following are some common signs of this skin condition:
- Dry, itchy skin
- Red or brownish rash, especially on the hands, wrist, neck, chest and the bend of knee and elbows
- Rash on scalp or face in infant
- Rash which may form crust or produce discharge after scratching
- Raw sensitive skin
The diagnosis of eczema is based upon clinical inspection and examination. A careful review of patient history and skin patch tests may also be used. Other co-existing conditions must also be assessed.
Prevention is the best strategy to manage this skin condition. Avoidance of triggers, hard soaps, long hot water baths, and use of moisturizers and emollients can prevent this skin condition. Certain medication (corticosteroids, antibiotic ointments, anti-inflammatory agents) are used to control and relieve symptoms. Other therapies that can be sued for eczema include:
- Wet Therapy
- Light Therapy
- Behavioral modification