Be good to your skin. You’ll wear it every day for the rest of your life. - Anonymous

What is eczema?

Eczema is also known as atopic dermatitis and is a condition that makes your skin red and itchy. These brownish-gray patches, may appear on the hands, feet, ankles, wrists, neck, upper chest, eyelids and inside the bend of the elbows and knees. It may be accompanied by asthma or hay fever.

Possible Causes: 

While the exact causes of eczema are not known, most research has found a combination of genetic factors and certain triggers. An over-active immune system in the individual causes an inflammation in response to certain triggers. Some people with eczema are found to have a mutation of the gene that is responsible for creating the protein called filaggrin.

Risk Factors: 

  • Eczema is also called atopic dermatitis, and while it may develop with or without the risk factors mentioned here, the presence of these increases the likelihood of the condition. 
  • Having parents who suffer from allergic disorders such as atopic dermatitis, asthma or hay fever. 
  • Environmental factors such as extremes in temperature.
  • People who are prone to allergies of plant pollen, animal dander, dust mites, moulds and certain foods are at higher risk for eczema.
  • The risk of getting eczema is highest for infants and children. 

Signs & Symptoms: 

Eczema and its symptoms differ for each person. You may have a moderate or severe itch. Other symptoms include:

  • Dry and sensitive skin.
  • Redness or inflammation.
  • Severe itching.
  • Dark coloured patches.
  • Rough, leathery or scaly patches.
  • Oozing or crusting.
  • Swelling.

You may notice all these symptoms of just a few, and they may flare up or subside at different times. The only way to establish that you have eczema is to consult a dermatologist.

Diagnosis: 

Visit Medcare to get the right diagnosis of your eczema symptoms. The dermatologist will usually diagnose eczema based on the history of your symptoms and a visual examination. The doctor may use patch testing or other tests to rule out other conditions.

Treatment Options: 

The treatment may include moisturisers along with topical medications - mainly cortisone or calcineurin inhibitors creams to be applied to the affected areas, as well as medications to be taken orally. In some cases, phototherapy, or the use of light, may be prescribed. In more severe cases immunosuppresants may be given by oral, intravenous or intramuscular methods, biologics- parenteral may be needed.

FAQs: الأسئلة الشائعة:
  • Does eczema spread from one person to another?

    A: No, eczema is not contagious and you cannot get it from another person. When your own immune system responds to a trigger, it may cause your eczema to flare up.

  • How can I prevent eczema flare ups?

    A: You may be able to prevent or control your eczema flare ups with these practices:

    • Keep your skin well moisturised.
    • Try to avoid environments that are extremely hot or cold, and avoid excessive sweating.
    • Manage your stress.
    • Don't wear clothing that scratches your skin.
    • Avoid harsh soaps and detergents.
    • Notice whether any foods aggravate your eczema and avoid those. 
    • If your environment is very dry, a humidifier in your room may help.
  • Can my baby get eczema?

    A: Eczema or atopic dermatitis can develop at any age, but infants and children are at the highest risk. Among individuals affected by eczema, more than half develop symptoms in their first year, and almost all before age 5. If your baby shows symptoms, don't worry and consult a paediatric dermatologist.

  • I'm embarrassed and frustrated because of my eczema and the itchy sensation.

    A: Eczema is a common condition that affects many children and adults, so it's nothing to be ashamed of. Speak to a specialist at Medcare's Dermatology centre to keep your eczema under control.

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