Also known as atopic dermatitis, eczema does not refer to one specific condition, but rather is an
umbrella term for a variety of skin inflammations that can have many different symptoms and can be treated in several different ways.
One major hallmark of eczema is extreme itching. However, depending on the severity of the condition it may be followed by a variety of other symptoms including bleeding, oozing, cracking,
redness, swelling, blistering, flaking, drying and crusting of the skin.
Although doctors still don't know the exact cause of the condition, eczema is thought to be an allergic reaction as the immune system responds to what it perceives is a foreign substance
invading the body.
The best way to treat eczema, say doctors, is by removing whatever is causing the reaction. There are, however, many different potential suspects so it may take a lot of patient testing to discern the exact cause.
If the cause cannot be found, the next step
is to apply an anti-inflammatory steroid cream and anti-itch
treatments so that constant rubbing or scratching does not
agitate the condition. Patients are also often
advised to use hypoallergenic soaps and shampoos to decrease
the chances of outbreak. Antihistamines are also sometimes prescribed for eczema to decrease the severity of flareups when an allergy is suspected.
If home treatments do not work, or eczema symptoms continue to worsen, a doctor or dermatologist can prescribe more
powerful prescription steroids, creams or shampoos which
have been shown to ease more stubborn occurrences of eczema.
More information about eczema around the Web:
Eczema Resource Center - Here's complete information on eczema risks and how to avoid them, especially in children and toddlers, along with details on symptoms and treatment, and preventing flare-ups.
WebMD - Eczema Home Treatment - Check out tips and advice on treating and controlling symptoms, plus scroll down the page for an extensive list of related resources.
information is intended as reference and not as medical advice. All treatment
decisions should be made by medical professionals.