Eczema is a skin inflammation that can be caused by any number of things. It is also classified under the umbrella term of dermatitis. This particular skin condition is not contagious. There are several ways to treat eczema, although it cannot be cured.
Those suffering from eczema usually experience frequent skin rashes and other conditions such as flaky skin, redness of the skin, itching and dryness, and could experience blistering, oozing, and even bleeding. The most common type of eczema is atopic eczema, which is believed to be an allergic reaction resulting in very dry and itchy skin. It’s most common in babies and children, and, for them, it often clears up by adulthood. Adults who develop or still have recurring eczema often suffer their entire lives with the condition without it ever going away completely. About 10-20% of the population is thought to have eczema. It’s incredibly itchy and has been described by some as being worse than the chicken pox, and more horrible then being covered in mosquito bites.
There are many different types of eczema with different types of causes as well. Most often the cause of eczema is severe allergic reactions (to poison ivy, nickel, etc) or irritants (such as solvents, bleach, etc). Sometimes it’s believed to be a result of a hereditary component. Still, other times it develops as a result of having very dry skin which develops into eczema. Less common types are sometimes caused by poor circulation in certain areas, parasites, bacteria, viral infection, and underlying diseases.
There are several ways to help prevent eczema outbreaks and flare-ups as well as the severity of such. It’s important to keep your skin moisturized both inside and outside. This means drinking plenty of water and fluids, and using appropriate moisturizer, such as a hypoallergenic lotion. Also, try to avoid sudden changes in the temperature or humidity, as well as sweating. Stress can also trigger flare-ups. Stay away from scratchy or harsh materials such as wool. Do not use strong or harsh bath soaps or laundry detergents. Try to avoid environmental factors that may signal an outbreak such as pet dander, molds, and pollens, for example. Also, be sure to avoid any foods that may cause a reaction.
The extreme itchiness can be treated in several ways. Most commonly, moisturizing topical solutions are prescribed and it is suggested to avoid itching, even though it may seem unbearable. These topical solutions and creams are best applied after a bath (within several minutes of towel-drying) to lock in the moisture from the bath or shower. When experiencing a flare-up, cold compresses may be applied directly to the area casuing the most discomfort. It’s common for those suffering from eczema to develop infections due to all the cracked skin and open areas. This is commonly treated with a topical or oral antibiotic.
If the condition is severe enough, sometimes sedatives and antihistamines are prescribed. In some cases, the person suffering from this condition may need frequent injections of other medications as well. Light treatment has been shown to be effective in some cases by using ultraviolet lights. Other therapies have been experimented with, as well as natural alternative remedies such as oatmeal baths, seawater, tar treatments, sulphur treatments, etc.
Those with eczema often have red skin, which is incredibly itchy and scratchy, and sometimes cracking, oozing, and bleeding even. Many different triggers can lead to an outbreak, from environmental irritants, to allergic reations, to stress. There are also many different treatments available to alleviate some of the discomfort, but some have more side effects than others. It’s important to remember that, if you don’t have eczema, it’s nothing to fear when you see someone with this horrible condition. It’s not contagious and it won’t harm you. Think about how much they suffer already, itching all the time and not being able to get satisfactory relief more times than not!