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What you shall do if you have eczema?

Keep the skin moist by applying good moisturising creams, using moisturising soaps; one must also wear cotton clothes to avoid itchiness

Published: 16th September 2019 04:38 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th September 2019 04:38 AM   |  A+A-

For representational purposes (Express Illustrations)

Express News Service

KOCHI: Eczema is a skin condition that results in dry, itchy and inflamed skin. Though similar to psoriasis and people often confuse both to be the same, they are two separate entities that affect the skin. In eczema, it is the extreme case of dry skin that adversely affects the ability of the skin to protect against outside irritants and allergens.

The normal moisture-producing mechanism will be absent in an eczema patient whereas psoriasis is the overproduction of certain immune-system chemicals. It results in the fast formation of extra layers on the skin. 

“Though both can be genetic, the symptoms, treatments and aggravating factors of the diseases are different. Eczema affects the skin only whereas psoriasis might affect the scalp and nail,” said Dr Shibu Mohammed, consultant, dermatology and venerology at Renai Medicity, Kochi.“Eczema can be developed due to genetic as well as environmental conditions.

Allergens like pollens, dust, dandruff, certain food items and climatic changes are some of the reasons for the cause of eczema. In some cases, the condition aggravates with the type of cloth one wears, exposure to sunlight or extremely cold weather. Another thing noticed in eczema patients is that most of them will be suffering from hypothyroidism and rhinitis,” he added.

Symptoms

The symptoms of eczema will start showing up on the skin even during the first few months of birth. “Mostly, the symptoms can be spotted in infants after five or six months after birth. And sometimes it will lead to sleeplessness and malnourishment in them,” he said. The people who show the symptoms before the age of five will continue to have it as an adult too.

For children below two years, rashes commonly appear on the scalp and cheeks and cause extreme itchiness. The condition will worsen if scratched. Elbows, knees, wrists, ankles and neck are some other areas where the rashes could be found in children above the age of two. Over time, rashes become bumpy, and discolouration and lichenification happen. Rashes in adults can be more scaly than those in children. They can be permanently itchy, cause very dry skin and will be commonly seen on elbows or knees. The person affected by eczema should be careful to not scratch the area as it increases the inflammation. 

Treatment

The most used method to control eczema is by keeping the skin moist. Applying good moisturising creams, using moisturising soaps and wearing cotton clothes are easy solutions to keep it controlled. There are anti-inflammatory medications and ointment to relieve the itchiness and inflammation caused by this skin condition. Also, it is noticed that people who lack immunity get eczema easily, so there is immunotherapy as part of the treatment. 

Rough and scratchy fibres and tight-fitting clothing should be avoided. One must gently pat the skin with a towel after bathing rather than rub the skin, and take lukewarm baths to avoid inflammation. The person affected should also be aware of individual eczema-triggering agents and keep fingernails short to prevent breaking the skin by scratching.



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