What is eczema?
Eczema is a painful and irritating skin condition that particularly affects children. The skin becomes red and dry. Because affected areas of the skin are itchy, it can feel almost impossible to refrain from scratching, but this can make the skin bleed and worsen the condition.
The main symptom of eczema is inflamed and itchy skin in the natural creases of the body (such as inside the elbow, or behind the knees). The symptoms can be mild or severe.
Other symptoms include:
Cracked skin which appears as a sort of ‘crusting’
Hot, dry and scaly skin
Broken skin which oozes fluid
Children with eczema may struggle to cope at school and also develop low self-esteem, particularly as they reach their teenage years.
People with eczema are also more prone to developing other conditions such as warts and herpes. Also, some people with severe eczema develop depression due to the negative effect eczema has on their quality of life.
Possible causes of eczema include:
House dust mites
Exposure to pets (furry animals such as cats and dogs)
Certain food allergies (such as cow’s milk, eggs, nuts, Soya and wheat), and
If you are suffering with the aforementioned symptoms, make an appointment with your GP. He or she will assess your skin’s appearance and ask you a number of questions, such as: if you have any allergies; for how long you have been experiencing symptoms; if there is a history of eczema in your family…
Your GP will also try to establish if certain triggers contribute to your condition, focusing upon things like your diet, lifestyle, and the type of soaps and detergents you use (and if you have recently changed brands).
If your symptoms are severe, you may be referred to a dermatologist (a specialist in skin diseases).
Effect on your life
Although eczema can be painful and irritating, many sufferers are able to still participate as normal in everyday life and enjoy a range of activities. However, the disease can have a psychological effect as eczema can lead to:
Being bullied at school
Greater dependence on parents by children
Lack of self-confidence and self-esteem
Self-care: Due to the impulse to scratch the infected area, it is a good idea to keep finger nails short. Where clothing may irritate your skin, avoid wearing some man-made materials such as polyester. Also, where heat can make symptoms worse, try to keep your home cool and to take lukewarm baths.
There is no actual cure for eczema, but there are things you can do to help relieve symptoms, such as:
Use over-the-counter and prescribed creams and lotions
Take drugs prescribed by your GP (such as antihistamine medication)
Use self-care techniques (as described in the effect on your life section above)
You may be able to prevent eczema in your baby by avoiding certain foods and by breastfeeding.
How Chemist Online can help
Through this wesbsite we have available to buy a wide range of creams, shapoos and lotions that can provide effective relief from eczema, such as Balneum Plus Cream which soothes and softens the skin and reduces scaling, and Oilatum Junior Bath Formula which has been specially developed for children's and babies' dry skin and eczema.
Also, an increased intake of Omega-3 Essential Oils in your diet may help to reduce symptoms.
Advice & Support
National Eczema Society
Hill House, Highgate Hill, London, N19 5NA
Tel (Helpline) 0800 089 1122
This information and advice is not intended to replace the advice of your GP or chemist. Chemist Online is also not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made by a user based upon the content of the Chemist Online website. Chemist Online is also not liable for the contents of any external internet sites listed, nor does it endorse any commercial product or service mentioned or advised on any of the sites.
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