Living with Eczema

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Our natural reaction to an itch of the skin is to scratch for relief. While this innocent scratch may provide the needed relief for many, it can aggravate the skin of others, triggering further distress. Accompanied by blisters, a burning sensation, and extremely dry patches on the skin, this condition is a form of dermatitis commonly known as eczema. Types of Eczema Atopic dermatitis: This is a chronic type of eczema characterized by itchy and inflamed skin. It is common among individuals with a history of asthma and hay fever. Exfoliative dermatitis: This type of eczema is characterized by thick, red, and scaly skin all over the body. Seborrheic dermatitis: This is commonly known as dandruff. It appears as yellowish, oily, scaly patches of the skin on the scalp, face, ears, and other parts of the body. Allergic contact dermatitis: With this type of eczema certain areas of the skin become red, itchy and weepy. This happens when the skin comes in contact with a 'foreign' substance. Nummular dermatitis: This type is characterized by round, isolated patches of irritated skin. Generally these are formed on the back, arms, and the lower legs. Stasis dermatitis: This type is often seen in legs with varicose veins. The pigmentation is usually darker, light-brown, or purplish-red in color as a result of blood congestion in the leg veins. Dyshidrotic dermatitis: This form of eczema involves irritation of the skin on the palms of hands and the soles of the feet. It is characterized by blisters that burn and itch.

Atopic dermatitis is the most widespread and most severe type of eczema. The disease is common among any age group and is very prevalent among infants and children. The way in which the disease affects ... ... middle of paper ... ... include:

• Avoiding the use of harsh chemicals
• Using a non-soap cleanser when taking baths and showers
• Gently patting the skin with a dry, soft towel
• Applying moisturizer while skin is damp, to lock in moisture
• Reducing the level of daily stress
• Avoiding scratchy materials and tight-fitting clothing
• Avoiding excess heat
• Keeping the house well ventilated
• Regularly changing bed linen
• Resisting the urge to scratch the skin

For many individuals, antihistamine drugs or creams containing corticosteroids, may be useful in helping to soothe the irritation. For the more severe cases the doctor may prescribe other medications to be taken internally, and in the event of infection may prescribe antibiotics to kill the bacteria. Ultraviolet light therapy (phototherapy) may also prove useful in helping to clear up the condition in persons with severe cases.

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