(Atopic Dermatitis)

Eczema Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

There is intense itching associated with patches of dry, inflamed, scaly, excoriated, oozing lesions on skin. If it is chronic eczema, the skin is scarred and thickened with depigmented or excessively pigmented lesions.

Eczema is a chronic skin condition characterized by dry skin patches. Such patches intermittently become itchy, red, and inflamed. Eczema or dermatitis is atopic when triggered by food or environmental allergens.

Atopic dermatitis is the most common chronic skin condition in children. About 17% of the school-aged children are affected. It is more commonly seen in childhood with onset before 5 years of age. Approximately 84% of children outgrow their atopic dermatitis by adolescence, but in some patients it can persist into or onset in adulthood.

Most people with allergic eczema have a genetic predisposition to having allergies. It is seen in patients who experience allergic rhinitis and/or asthma.

This is a multi step process.

Trigger Identification: Allergen triggers can be identified by doing skin test or by performing blood test. Then avoidance of food and environmental triggers need to be pursued. Irritant triggers also need to be avoided.

Control of Itching: This is done by using antihistamines.

Topical skin treatment: This involves aggressive moisturization and anti-inflammatory creams for inflamed areas. Moisturization is achieved by hydration followed by use of moisturizers. Steroidal and non-steroidal creams are available for control of inflammation.

Q: What triggers eczema (Atopic Dermatitis)?
About 30-40% of the children with moderate to severe eczema have food allergies. Cow's milk, egg, fish and peanuts are common triggers. Heat, stress, environmental allergens, Viral URIs and chemical irritants can also trigger or worsen eczema.

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