Eczema is a term used to describe several type of skin rashes and swellings. It is not contagious and does not have any particular cause. It is often a long lasting condition. Atopic dermatitis is the most common form of eczema. Symptoms are:
• Dryness of skin
• Red swollen rashes
• Oozing or crusting of rash
HOW IS ECZEMA DIAGNOSED?
The diagnosis of the condition will be done by a dermatologist who will use a series of skin tests based on sample tissue taken from the area where the lesions have generated. Various lab tests can be used to diagnose the cause and type of eczema.
HOW IS ECZEMA TREATED?
There are different kinds of over the counter creams and ointments available that help in treating the same. Some of these include Cryotherapy, 5-Fluorouracil cream and Imiquimod cream that are applied externally to provide some respite from the same.
DID YOU KNOW?
One can use a cold compress as a home remedy for eczema.
The word ‘eczema’ comes from the Greek word ‘ekzein’ which means to ‘boil out’, where ‘ek’ means ‘out’ and ‘zema’ means ‘boiling’. It is a superficial inflammatory skin condition that is defined by itching, redness, oozing, weeping, crusting and some pigmentation. It affects almost 4% of the entire population of the world. It is also used to specifically refer to a condition known as atopic dermatitis.
While eczema leads to rash-like conditions, it is usually used to refer to the most common form of it - atopic dermatitis. This condition is one that starts from infancy and continues into childhood. Some manage to grow out of it, while some experience it even in adulthood. Other types of eczema include - xerotic eczema, contact eczema, seborrhoeic dermatitis, venous eczema, discoid eczema and neuro dermatitis.
There is no single, specific test that may be used to diagnose eczema. Families who have had a history of medical conditions like celiac disease, asthma are more prone to experiencing eczema. Here are a few tests that may be used to diagnose it:
• Skin patch testing: Substances that are suspected of causing the condition are placed on the skin surface to elicit an allergic reaction
• Skin prick testing: A needle that contains a minute amount of an allergen is inserted into the skin. This is used to test for allergies that don’t occur on the surface like that of food
• Food challenge: Foods that are on the suspect list are eliminated from your diet, and then reintroduced again to determine whether the allergy is caused by that specific food item.
Its treatment mostly focuses on trying to alleviate the symptoms and minimize the effect of the future attack. Here are a few things you can do alleviate your symptoms:
• Warm baths are really comforting for inflamed and itchy skin
• Moisturize extremely well to retain the natural moisture of your skin
• Use a milder soap while having a bath
• Try and avoid rapid fluctuations of temperature that may make you experience chills or perspiration
• Try and learn more about what triggers the eczema
• Learn to not scratch your skin, keep your fingernails short and clean
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