Dermatitis and Eczema treatment Chicago
Eczema treatment does not cure the condition per se, but it can control the signs and symptoms. Correct and consistent medical and at-home care is the key to long-term relief.
Eczema, or atopic dermatitis (AD), is a chronic skin condition caused by an allergic reaction. "Dermatitis" is a term that refers to any general inflammation of the skin. "Atopic" is a medical word meaning "allergic."
Over 10 percent of children in the United States are diagnosed with eczema. Eczema is more common in infants and children, with many cases resolving by age 5. However, some cases of eczema persist throughout adolescence into adulthood.
What causes eczema?
While eczema is known to be an allergic reaction, the triggers may vary from one individual to the next. Possible causes include:
- Personal care products.
- Household and industrial cleaning products and chemicals.
- Airborne allergens such as pollen and animal dander.
- Bacteria, viruses, and fungi.
- Changes in air temperature and humidity.
- Contact with or consumption of certain foods.
- Hormonal fluctuations.
Signs and symptoms of eczema
Eczema is characterized by:
- Raised red patches.
- Dry skin.
- Scaly or leathery skin.
- Intense itching.
More serious or long-term complications include:
- Blisters that ooze and crust.
- Thickening of the skin due to repeated scratching and rubbing.
- Loss of pigment after the patch clears.
Conditions related to eczema
People who have or had eczema are also likely to have or develop the following conditions:
- Food allergies.
- Hay fever.
Eczema and other allergies typically run in families. A diagnosis of eczema is made not by a test but through examination of the family history as well as the skin itself.
Here are the steps you can take in the treatment of eczema:
- Get a diagnosis from a doctor. It is easy to confuse psoriasis and other skin conditions for eczema. An accurate diagnosis means better treatment and faster relief.
- Bathe less often. Especially for children, reduce bathing frequency to reduce the skin's exposure to hot water and chemical products.
- Wash with cooler water. Hot water is more likely to exacerbate inflammation.
- Use special cleansers in smaller amounts. Soaps and washes for eczema-prone skin my contain fewer ingredients or include therapeutic ingredients.
- Moisturize damp skin. Sealing in water after a bath or shower is your top line of defense for eczema-prone skin.
- Eliminate all unnecessary cosmetic skin preparations. Scented lotions, body sprays, tanning products, and so forth may worsen the problem.
- Apply cortisone or other steroid creams. Topical corticosteroids reduce inflammation and ease itching.
- Apply other topical medications such as Protopic or Elidel.
- Take oral antihistamines such as Benadryl or Atarax.
- Keep fingernails short and smoothly filed to prevent skin injury and infection.
- Reduce stress. Although it is often easier said than done, stress reduction is essential for your overall health.
- Examineyour diet for possibleallergens.
- Wear clean, loose-fitting clothing that breathes. Avoid fabrics that tend to irritate your skin, such as wool or synthetic fibers.
- Avoid drastic temperature changes as much as possible.
Your doctor at Associated Allergists and Asthma Specialists can offer you the latest therapies, but effective eczema treatment depends largely on your participation in self-care. A team effort is always your best bet when it comes to managing your health.
If you have resistant or debilitating eczema, you may be interested in participating in a clinical trial of a new drug. Check the resources below for more information.