Atopic dermatitis (Eczema)
What is Eczema / Atopic Dermatitis ?
Eczema, also called Atopic Dermatitis, is a medical condition where a patch of the patient’s skin undergoes the following:
- Gets inflamed
- Blisters occur in some cases
It is usually common among children but it can occur at any age. It has been found to occur from:
- Some foods, like nuts and dairy, can trigger symptoms
- Environmental factors like smoke and pollen can also trigger symptoms
- A patient’s age also determines the extent of the symptoms
- The treatment provided is usually to manage the symptoms and it focusses on healing the damaged skin and reducing the symptoms. Eczema cannot be cured fully.
The patients suffering from eczema exhibit the following symptoms:
- Dry skin
- Severe Itching
- Red to brownish-gray patches on the hands, feet, ankles, wrists, neck, upper chest, eyelids, inside the bend of the elbows and knees.
- Bumps, which are small and raised bumps, might leak fluid if scratched
- Thickened, cracked, scaly skin
- Raw, sensitive and swollen skin from scratching
Types of Eczema
There are different types of Eczema:
- Allergic Contact Dermatitis is a skin reaction following contact with a substance or allergen that the immune system recognizes as foreign.
- Dyshidrotic Eczema is a skin irritation that appears on the palms of hands and the soles of the feet, usually characterized by blisters.
- Neurodermatitis forms scaly patches of skin on the head, forearms, wrists, and lower legs. This is caused by a localized itch due to insect bites etc.
- Nummular Eczema is the formation of circular patches of irritated skin that can be crusted, scaly, and itchy.
- Seborrheic Eczema forms oily, scaly, yellowish patches of skin on the scalp and face.
- Stasis Dermatitis is a skin irritation that appears on the lower leg, usually caused due to the circulatory problems.
Eczema can cause the following complications:
- Asthma and hay fever
- Chronic itchy and scaly skin
- Skin infections
- Irritant hand dermatitis.
- Sleep problems
- Allergic contact dermatitis
The doctors might recommend either one or a combination of the following options for Atopic Dermatitis Treatment :
- Antihistamines such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl) will help in controlling the itch.
- Corticosteroid cream or ointment will help in reducing the itch. Cool compresses might be applied on the affected area before applying this cream.
- For more severe reactions, you might be prescribed steroids like prednisone (Rayos) to control the swelling. These are usually taken orally.
- Calcineurin inhibitors reduce the immune response that causes red, itchy skin.
- Antibiotics treat skin infections.
- Light therapy exposes skin to ultraviolet light to heal your rash.
What can I do at home?
You can try managing eczema using the following options before visiting the doctor.
- Use a rich, oil-based cream or ointment to moisturize your skin daily.
- Try to find out the triggers that can worsen the condition and avoid them.
- Use gentle soaps.
- Apply cool compresses to your skin.
- After a bath, gently blot your skin with a soft towel. Never rub.
- Wear loose-fitting clothes made from soft fibers
Authored By: Dr. Priya J Talageri