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Eczema

 
1. What is eczema?
 
Eczema is an intensely itchy, inflammatory skin condition, it is usually found on the face, wrists and insides of the elbows and knees. The skin becomes reddened, dry and thickened and it can weep and become crusted. Eczema is a very common condition, which affects 5-7% of the population. Even though it can occur at any age, it is most common in infants and young children. Often, eczema is the result of an allergic reaction, especially in children. Atopic eczema is a hereditary condition which often develops in young infants with a family history of allergies or asthma.
 
2. What causes eczema?
 

There is no single cause of eczema, but generally people with eczema have skin that is more sensitive to certain ‘triggers’. The skin reacts against the ‘trigger’, and this causes the symptoms, which typically include itchiness, dryness, redness and inflammation. Eczema tends to run in families and the problem occurs because of particular changes in certain genes, although the full details of these genes are still not known.

 
3. Can eczema be prevented?
 
If you can identify something that triggers your eczema, then you should try to. However, the tendency to develop eczema is in-born. However, many children grow out of eczema, and in other cases eczema suddenly becomes worse for unknown reasons. There is still much that is not known about eczema.
 
4. What is the treatment for eczema?
 
- Keeping the skin moist by using emollient (medical moisturizers) and barrier creams may be sufficient to control some mild cases.
- Using steroid cream on advice of doctors can calm itchy and swollen red skin but prolonged use may lead to permanent change to the skin such as thinning of the skin and stretch marks
- Using antibiotics or antiseptics to treat infected skin but frequent use may render it ineffective.
- Other new medicines being developed such as topical immunomodulators which are steroid free help relieve itching,redness and swelling. Others such as antihistamines, wet wrap, UV light treatment.etc.
 
5. Will my child grow out of their eczema?
 
Not every child grows out of its eczema, but the majority does. By the time they reach their teens, 60-70% of children who suffered from eczema are virtually clear.
 
6. Is eczema contagious?
 
No, eczema is not contagious. It is caused by underlying immune activity affecting the skin, not by a bacteria or virus.
Could changing my diet cure my eczema?
Eczema often is caused by allergens. All major allergens should be identified and eliminated from the diet. For some people, eczema may be linked to something in their diet, but there are many other potential triggers apart from diet. It is worth trying to notice if any particular food makes your eczema worse, and trying to avoid that food if possible. Research indicated that by eliminating cow’s milk, eggs, artificial colors and preservatives could help some children. Chemical and detergents found in many household products can irritate the skin and worsen the eczema. Sufferers should try to use sensitive skin products whenever possible.
 
7. Are there any 'natural' creams to treat eczema?
 
The data on natural and homeopathic treatments tends to be limited. Talk to your doctor before using any alternative therapy for eczema. Several herbal remedies have traditionally been used to treat eczema are Burdock root, Sarsaparilla and Clover.

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