Eczema is a general term used to describe a variety of skin conditions. About 15 million people in the U.S. suffer from some form of eczema, including 10-20 percent of all infants. Symptoms vary from person to person but often include dry, red, itchy patches on the skin which break out in rashes when scratched.
The exact cause of Eczema is unknown, but very dry air, cold winds, harsh soaps and detergents, and excessive bathing may play a part. The most common cause of Eczema is an allergic over-sensitization.
Prevention tips include:
- Dress in layers to stay cool and minimize itching caused by perspiration
- Bathe or shower in lukewarm water to hydrate skin and soothe discomfort
- Apply moisturizer very soon after bathing – BEFORE the water evaporates
- Take time to relax because high stress has been known to trigger flare-ups
Treatment can involve:
- Restriction of scratching
- Use of moisturizing lotions or creams
- Cold compresses
- Nonprescription anti-inflammatory corticosteroid creams and ointments.
If these treatments prove insufficient, physicians may prescribe corticosteroid medication, antibiotics to combat infection, or sedative antihistamines. Phototherapy is a common procedure that uses light to reduce rashes.
For severe cases, drugs such as Cyclosporine A may be recommended.
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If you have further questions about eczema or our other general dermatology services, please contact our office. We will be happy to answer any questions you have or schedule a consultation for you.