WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT IRRITATING SKIN INFECTION, ATOPIC ECZEMA !!

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT IRRITATING SKIN INFECTION, ATOPIC ECZEMA !!

Eczema (Atopic Eczema)



What is atopic eczema?

Atopic eczema is an inflammatory condition of the skin. Atopic is the term used to describe conditions such as eczema, asthma, seasonal rhinitis and hay fever, which often have a genetic basis. Eczema is the term used to describe changes in the upper layer of the skin that include redness, blistering, oozing, crusting, scaling, thickening and sometimes pigmentation (although not all of these changes will necessarily occur together). The words eczema and dermatitis are interchangeable and mean the same thing: thus atopic eczema is the same as atopic dermatitis. For simplicity we shall use atopic eczema in this leaflet.

Atopic eczema affects both sexes equally and usually starts in the first weeks or months of life. It is most common in children, affecting at least 10% of infants at some stage. It usually disappears during childhood, although it can carry on into adult life or come back in the teenage or early adult years. It may occasionally develop for the first time in adulthood.

What causes atopic eczema?

This is still not fully understood. A tendency to atopic conditions often runs in families (see below) and is part of your genetic make-up. In people with atopic eczema, the function of their skin as a barrier to the outside world does not work well, so that irritant and allergy-inducing substance enter their skin, and may cause dryness and inflammation. Atopic eczema is not catching.

Is atopic eczema hereditary?

Yes. Atopic eczema (as well as asthma and hay fever) tends to run in families. If one or both parents suffer from eczema, asthma or hay fever, it is more likely that their children will suffer from them too. In addition, there is a tendency for these conditions to run true to type within each family: in other words, in some families most of the affected members will have eczema, and, in others, asthma or hay fever will predominate.

What are the symptoms of atopic eczema?

The main symptom is itch. Scratching in response to itch may be the cause for many of the changes seen on the skin. Itching can be bad enough to interfere with sleep, causing tiredness and irritability.

What does atopic eczema look like?

Atopic eczema can affect any part of the skin, including the face, but the areas most commonly affected are the bends of the elbows and knees, and around the wrists and neck (a flexural pattern). Other common appearances of atopic eczema include discrete coin-sized areas of inflammation (a discoid pattern), and numerous small bumps that coincide with the hair follicles (a follicular pattern).

If you have eczema, it is likely your skin will be red and dry, and scratch marks (and bleeding) are common. When the eczema is very active (during a ‘flare-up’) you may develop small water blisters on the hands and feet, or the affected areas of your skin may become moist and weepy. In areas that are repeatedly scratched, the skin may thicken up (a process known as lichenification), and become even more itchy.

What makes atopic eczema flare up?

Many factors in a person’s environment can make eczema worse. These include;

Heat, dust and contact with irritants such as soap or detergents
Being unwell: for example having a common cold can make eczema flare
Infections with bacteria or viruses can make eczema worse. Bacterial infection (usually with a bug called Staphylococcus) makes the affected skin yellow, crusty and inflamed, and may need treatment with antibiotics. An infection with the virus that causes cold sores (herpes simplex virus) can cause a painful widespread (and occasionally dangerous) flare of eczema, and may need treatment with antiviral tablets
Dryness of the skin
Perhaps stress
How is atopic eczema diagnosed?

It is usually easy for health care professionals, such as health visitors, practice nurses and general practitioners, to diagnose eczema when they look at the skin. However, sometimes the pattern of eczema in older children and adults is different, and the help of a hospital specialist may be needed. Blood tests and skin tests are usually not necessary. Occasionally the skin may need to be swabbed (by rubbing a sterile cotton bud on it) to check for bacterial or viral infections.

Can atopic eczema be cured?

No, it cannot be cured, but there are many ways of controlling it. Most children with atopic eczema improve as they get older (75% clear by their teens). However, many of those who have had eczema continue to have dry skin and need to avoid irritants such as soaps or bubble baths. Eczema may persist in adults, but it should be controllable with the right treatment. Atopic eczema may be troublesome for people in certain jobs that bring them into contact with irritant materials, such as catering, hairdressing or nursing.

Treatments for atopic eczema

Treatments for atopic eczema can help to ease the symptoms. There's no cure, but many children find their symptoms naturally improve as they get older.

Emollients

Emollients are moisturising treatments applied directly to the skin to reduce water loss and cover it with a protective film. They're often used to help manage dry or scaly skin conditions such as atopic eczema.

In addition to making the skin feel less dry, they may also have a mild anti-inflammatory role, and can help reduce the number of flare-ups you have.

Topical corticosteroids

If your skin is sore and inflamed, your GP may prescribe a topical corticosteroid (applied directly to your skin), which can reduce the inflammation within a few days.

Topical corticosteroids can be prescribed in different strengths, depending on the severity of your atopic eczema and the areas of skin affected.

They can be:

very mild (such as hydrocortisone)
moderate (such as clobetasone butyrate)
even stronger (such as mometasone)
If you need to use corticosteroids frequently, see your GP regularly so they can check the treatment is working effectively and you're using the right amount.
Antihistamines

Antihistamines are a type of medicine that block the effects of a substance in the blood called histamine. They can help relieve the itching associated with atopic eczema.

They can either be sedating, which cause drowsiness, or non-sedating. If you have severe itching, your GP may suggest trying a non-sedating antihistamine.

If itching during a flare-up affects your sleep, your GP may suggest taking a sedating antihistamine. Sedating antihistamines can cause drowsiness into the following day, so it may be helpful to let your child's school know they may not be as alert as normal.

Bandages and wet wraps

In some cases, your GP may prescribe special medicated bandages, clothing or wet wraps to wear over areas of skin affected by eczema.

These can either be used over emollients or with topical corticosteroids to prevent scratching, allow the skin underneath to heal, and stop the skin drying out.

Corticosteroid tablets

Corticosteroid tablets are rarely used to treat atopic eczema nowadays, but may occasionally be prescribed for short periods of five to seven days to help bring particularly severe flare-ups under control.

Longer courses of treatment are generally avoided because of the risk of potentially serious side effects.

If your GP thinks your condition may be severe enough to benefit from repeated or prolonged treatment with corticosteroid tablets, they'll probably refer you to a specialist.

Complementary therapies

Some people may find complementary therapies such as herbal remedies helpful in treating their eczema, but there's little evidence to show these remedies are effective.

If you're thinking about using a complementary therapy, speak to your GP first to ensure the therapy is safe for you to use. Make sure you continue to use other treatment your GP has prescribed.

Info Source : Patrikat Softech

```DISCLAIMER```: The essence of these health articles provided are strictly for informational and awareness purposes only. You can make use  of this health tips, but if after you noticed your health status quo is not improving, PLEASE, CONSULT your PHYSICIANS for further medical diagnosis and treatments.