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Eczema is one of the most common skin conditions in children. Eczema often begins very early in life, with 90% of children have had at least one outbreak by age five; hence doctors call it a “childhood disease” It doesn’t go away, but most children grow out of it, although some adults do have it. Being proactive can make a big difference in the way you’re able to manage your eczema or atopic dermatitis. But there are a lot of questions surrounding this chronic inflammatory skin condition. Skin health is vital to us all, but if you have eczema, it is even more important to be proactive about maintaining the health of your skin. Here are ten questions with answers from our skin experts.
Q1: What is eczema or atopic dermatitis?
It’s a chronic inflammatory skin condition most commonly found in children but can occur at any age. It occurs when an overactive immune system triggers the release of chemicals that lead to swelling, redness, and itchiness with patches on different parts of the body. Eczema often leaves dry, thickened skin that cracks easily, leading to secondary infections by bacteria or yeast under the skin’s surface.
Q2: What are the early signs of an upcoming flare?
A flare can happen at any time. Therefore, it’s hard to tell when one will begin unless you’re familiar with your skin and how it usually behaves. It would help if you visited a physiotherapist specializing in pelvic floor rehabilitation right after giving birth for treatment guidance. Flares typically occur within 24 hours after something triggers it, so stay alert to be proactive if you know what sets off flares for you. Here are some common flare triggers to watch out for:
1- Stress or anxiety.
2- Change climate from warm to cold, cold to warm, or very dry/humid.
3- Poor diet and a lack of nutrients – especially iron and vitamin D deficiency.
4- Dry skin, limit baths during a flare, and use moisturizers within three minutes after drying off wet skin with a towel. It has all the information you need about essential oils that can help reduce inflammation through topical application directly on your skin.
5- Mold exposure – be aware if mold is in your home, consider having it tested by an air quality specialist, then work with a contractor to remediate it.
6- A poor sleep schedule can be caused by working night shifts or staying up late to watch TV.
7- Irritants that you contact, i.e., soaps, clothing fabrics, perfumes, etc.
8- Allergic reaction to topical steroids.
9- Exposure to allergens in the environment such as pollen in the air or dust mites at home – in this case, consult an allergist.
10- Fungal infection (rare) – if over six months of treatment doesn’t reduce inflammation and itchiness, see your dermatologist for a further assessment about fungal infection.
11- Infection from bacteria or yeast under the surface of sensitive skin that has been damaged from scratching or from a flare.
Q3: What triggers an eczema flare?
There are a variety of triggers for flares, some familiar and others less so. The more you know about your skin, the easier it will be to identify what triggers a burst. Here are some common trigger factors:
1- Stress or anxiety can cause hormone levels to change, which increases inflammation in the body. Since stress affects every system within the body and psychological health, it’s essential to learn ways to manage stress such as exercise, meditation, time outdoors, and even taking up yoga.
2- Poor diet affects physical health and emotional and mental well-being; therefore, having a healthy whole foods diet is essential.
3- Dry skin is the number one cause of flares, so use moisturizers within three minutes of getting out of the shower and avoid hot water because it dries the skin.
4- An air quality specialist should assess mold exposure. If your home has visible signs of mold or any respiratory symptoms, occur, then consult an allergist about testing to identify what kind of mold you are dealing with.
5- Fungal infection (rare) – see your dermatologist for a proper assessment about possible fungal infection if it’s been over six months using creams without relief; this might require oral antifungal medication taken for four weeks; follow up with your dermatologist after treatment to monitor effectiveness and resolution.
6- A poor sleep schedule, caused by working night shifts or staying up late to watch TV, affects your immune system and is a common cause of flares, so try and maintain a regular sleeping pattern.
7- Irritants such as soap, the fabric used in clothing, and perfumes all affect sensitive skin, so avoid them when possible if they cause discomfort.
8- Allergic reaction to topical steroids is the number one reason people stop using their steroid medicine correctly; learn how to use it properly by consulting an allergist specializing in eczema, then follow up with your dermatologist for further instruction if necessary.
9- Exposure to allergens such as pollen in the air during the season due to hay fever or dust mites at home where you sleep. If all allergens have been ruled out and it’s not a fungal infection, consult an allergist to help with diagnosis.
10- Infection from bacteria or yeast under the surface of sensitive skin that has been damaged from scratching or from a flare; this is rare, so see your dermatologist for further assessment if all other factors have been eliminated.
Q4: Do you need steroids for eczema treatment?
The first step is talking to your doctor about your specific case then working together on a treatment plan which may require a combination of treatments such as topical steroids, i.e., emollients and moisturizers used daily, prescription medications taken orally known as systemic drugs, phototherapy/light therapy given at the clinic which reduces inflammation, or biologic medications that are injected into the skin that target specific pathways within the immune system to decrease inflammation. Your doctor will pick the most appropriate treatment based on your assessment, severity of eczema, and other factors such as age and lifestyle.
Q5: How do I prevent a flare-up?
Every moment spent treating a flare is time you could have been preventing it, so even when in remission from a recent one, it’s essential to bring out your best prevention strategies so when next faced with an unexpected trigger, you can rebound from it fast without compromising your quality of life by having eczema hold you back from things like going outside, sleeping soundly through the night, wearing certain fabrics, or enjoying time with loved ones.
Q6: Is eczema contagious?
No, you cannot” catch” eczema from someone else. Eczema is an abnormal immune system response to everyday environmental triggers that can be worsened by external factors such as stress, lack of sleep, or not moisturizing the skin.
Q7: Can eczema be controlled with diet?
Eczema is a disease that affects the skin, and therefore a healthy diet contributes to a healthy immune system, which can help regulate eczema flare-ups. Most dermatologists suggest avoiding certain foods such as dairy, caffeine, sugar, nuts/nut butter, wheat flour products, alcohol, chocolate.
Q8: Are there any natural remedies for eczema?
There are no miracle cures or treatments for eczema, so it’s best to consult your doctor about possible options then work together on finding what works best for you and your lifestyle while keeping in mind it might take some trial and error before finding the right treatment plan that works.
Q9: Can eczema cause other complications?
Eczema is an inflammatory condition that can cause the skin to become itchy, red, swollen, crusty, and dry, making it more likely for someone with eczema to scratch the affected areas, thus furthering damage to the skin cells in those areas or creating open sores. This prolonged contact with irritants such as soaps and perfumes can trigger flares, too, so take care when bathing by using gentle cleansers specifically made for sensitive skin then moisturize immediately after washing.
Q10: Should I change my skincare regimen for eczema during the summer or winter?
Your doctor can recommend a skin care regimen that’s best for your skin type, lifestyle, and the severity of your eczema, especially during certain seasons/times of the year when cold, dry winter weather, or hot summer months are more likely to worsen eczema.
These are some questions that you can ask your skin doctor or dermatologist. It is best to consult with a dermatologist or skin doctor to help you with your specific case when facing eczema. So, talk to your skin doctor about the questions you have!
Medications and Treatments for Eczema or Atopic Dermatitis:
Treatments for eczema and atopic dermatitis vary depending on the severity of the condition. Mild cases of eczema may be treated with moisturizers and emollients. For moderate patients, topical steroid creams may be recommended. In severe cases, medications such as oral steroids and immunosuppressants may be used to control your symptoms.
Topical corticosteroid creams and ointments:
These topical corticosteroid creams and ointments are prescribed to reduce inflammation in the skin as well as itching. These creams should be applied to the affected area once daily for a few weeks then gradually reduced as your symptoms improve. In general, topical steroids should only be used without prescription because of their potency and potential risks if misused. For children, doctors often recommend milder over-the-counter hydrocortisone creams first because these preparations have less chance than other types of steroids.
Immune system suppressors:
To treat cases of severe eczema, immunosuppressants such as cyclosporine A may be recommended either by mouth or intravenously, depending on the severity of the condition. Immunosuppressants are powerful medications that suppress the immune system to allow your body to heal from inflammation and allergic reactions.
In rare cases, oral corticosteroids may be prescribed to control severe flare-ups of eczema. Oral corticosteroids are high doses of the same hormones that your adrenal glands produce naturally. Like topical steroids, these medications can have serious side effects if misused or for long periods.
Allergen immunotherapy or desensitization is an effective treatment for allergies to substances that trigger eczemas, such as dust mites, certain foods like milk and eggs, and medications like penicillin. This treatment involves regular injections of small doses of the allergen over three to five years until you build a tolerance against it.
In cases where your eczema does not respond to other treatments, phototherapy or light therapy may be recommended. This treatment uses controlled exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun or unique lamps to reduce itching and inflammation in your skin.
Homeopathic treatment for eczema:
- Homeopathic treatment for eczema is very effective without any side effects. Hence this treatment is preferred by many patients.
- Homeopathic treatment for eczema has been used to treat various skin conditions for a long but was not much popular among people because of lack of awareness about homeopathy and because it is unheard of in everyday society.
- Homeopathic treatment for eczema has fewer side effects; it is cost-effective and cures the disease without any relapse makes it the choice of every suffering patient.
- Homeopathic treatment for eczema uses natural substances to cure skin disorders. Homeopathy may be a relatively unknown alternative medicine in many parts of the world, homeopaths practicing out of a population of well over one billion people.
- Homeopathic treatment for eczema treats the root cause of eczema and assists it in gradually subsiding.
- Homeopathic treatment for eczema starts with detailed patient history and a thorough skin examination to ascertain the root cause of the disease in a particular individual. Homeopathy helps in healing the skin from within, which is its curative process.
Homeopathic treatment for eczema helps restore the inner balance of body organs that triggers overactivity or under activity of certain glands & internal secretions, producing symptoms on the skin. You can book an appointment through OHO Homeopahty, and you will be treated in accordance with the latest developments and scientific advances in modern homeopathy.