The common eczema symptoms are dryness, itchiness, and flaking of the skin localized in the arms and the legs.
Eczema is a skin disease synonymous with dermatitis or atopic eczema. Usually, it doesn’t require medical treatment and is not contagious. This condition affects five per cent of the general population. Stress and family history of allergy are risk factors in acquiring the disease. In addition, several studies also claimed that the cause of eczema is probably because of hygienic problems.
What are the Eczema Symptoms?
Mild cases of eczema usually present as itchy, slightly reddish and flaky areas of the skin. Sometimes this is accompanied by a thickened, bark-like skin. Infections are also common occurrences. Here is a list of eczema symptoms.
- Inflammation and Itchiness. The worst and common symptom of eczema is itchiness which is always accompanied by inflammation. To relieve this, people often scratch the areas but this only makes the problem worst. Scratching generally increases the redness and inflammation. It may also give certain bacteria the opportunity to infect the inflamed areas. In babies, the early signs are noticed on the head located specifically at the scalp and the face. Children who have this also have a tendency to become uncomfortable and irritable.
- Lichenification. In chronic forms of this condition, thickening of the skin is observed. This is usually due to scratching and is characterized by a leather-like appearance. The process of skin thickening associated with eczema is called lichenification.
- Infection. It is not unusual for the affected areas to be influenced by certain types of bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus. Aside from these, fungal infections can also monopolize these areas.
- Dry Skin. This symptom usually presents a skin that is scaly or flaky in appearance. Skin dehydration is the usual cause of this. Some cases of eczema worsen during winter because cold weathers make skin dehydrated.
In severe cases, the symptoms are on a greater scale with crusting of the skin. The areas affected are the elbow (See: Elbow pain), the face, and the knees.
What are the Eczema Treatments?
There is no actual treatment for this kind of condition. The only option is to manage the different clinical manifestations of the disease. Topical application of a cream with one per cent hydrocortisone can control the itchiness and redness is used in mild cases of eczema. Medicines like steroid creams and antihistamines are also utilized to prevent and control the itching. Here are some of the managements available for treating and controlling eczema.
- Steroid cream. This is the usual treatment utilized when severe symptoms have been observed. These symptoms are itchiness and thickening of the skin. This is used by applying the cream directly over the affected area. The least potent corticosteroid creams are used on children while the strong ones are used on adults. Regular visit to the doctor is mandatory when using this kind of cream.
- Antihistamines. These medicines are usually used to address problems related to allergies. These drugs have a sedative property that relieves itchiness. This is usually taken before bedtime to provide the person with uninterrupted, long sleep.
- Skin moisturizers. Skin moisturizing lotions and soaps are beneficial in rehydrating dry and flaky skin. These also serve as a protective barrier against several skin irritants and allergen in the environment that might aid in worsening the condition. This should be used each day even if the symptoms have already subsided. Several studies have proven that daily usage of skin moisturizers decreased frequency of eczema flare-ups.
- Keratolytics. Breaking down the thickened and crusted layer of the skin due to lichenification can be achieved through the use of keratolytics. This activates and speeds up shedding off the outer of layer of the skin. This should be used with skin moisturizers so the new skin will not be easily dehydrated.
- Antibiotics and Antifungals. Bacterial and fungal infections worsen eczema symptoms. Antibiotic and antifungals can be either in the form of a tablet or creams and is prescribed by the healthcare provider. When the case is severe, systemic ingestion of the medicine is the usual course of treatment.
How do Unresponsive Cases of Eczema Managed?
In severe cases, management of the condition is a little bit difficult. Although some of these cases respond to treatment, some cases do not. When this happens, patients are referred to a dermatologist or skin specialist. The treatments usually given by the specialists to their patients include the following.
- Oral medications of corticosteroid might have the capacity to manage and control inflammation caused by the disease.
- Modification of the body’s host response against allergens and antigens through the use of immunosuppressant medicines.
- Phototherapy may also aid in managing the disease. Many individuals who have this disease claimed that their skin feels a lot healthier when exposed to sunlight. Side effects such as sun burns, and possibly skin cancer are not good for the body.
As a whole, proper care for the skin is the best treatment to avoid eczema symptoms. Its primary goal is to keep the skin hydrated and moisturized to prevent this condition. This can be achieved by following the most basic remedy which is the application of skin moisturizers on the skin. If the disease is already present, eczema treatment include using of different types of medications. With the collaborative cooperation of the patient and the doctor, managing and controlling of eczema is possible.