Eczema: The Painful Skin Disease
There are few skin diseases that are as painful and conspicuous to the eye as eczema. This disease is categorized by a persistent rash with a variety of symptoms. The word eczema comes from a Greek term which means to boil over and it may refer to the eczema symptom of runny, oozing sores.
Sometimes referred to as atopic dermatitis, eczema is a disease classified by chronic inflammation of the skin. There are actually several skin diseases with a variety of symptoms that fall under the umbrella term eczema. Eczema can cause redness, cracking, and swelling, flaking and crusting of the skin. Eczema can also lead to itchy, dry skin and blisters which can bleed or ooze pus.
Components of Eczema
Eczema is believed to be hereditary and there is a known link between the disease and asthma. The exact cause of the disease is unknown but there it’s more common in families with a history of asthma. Eczema can be contracted through contact with certain irritants such as poison ivy or even the elemental metal nickel. The most common type of occupational skin disease is the irritant form of eczema known as contact dermatitis. Many forms of eczema are made worse by cold or dry weather as the skin becomes more dry and damaged.
Another common form of eczema is seborrheic dermatitis. This disease is classified as very chronic dandruff with large flakes of skin falling from the scalp and the eyebrows. The torso can also be affected by seborrheic dermatitis and begin to peel and flake.
Though eczema is often accompanied by persistent itching, it’s best not to scratch it. The fluid running from a lesion can spread and cause more areas of the skin to become infected. Opening a healing wound may also result in unsightly scarring.
Eczema and Childhood
Nearly 20% of all infants have eczema symptoms and 65% of people with eczema display symptoms within the first year of life. 90% of people with the disease display symptoms before their fifth birthday so it’s important to monitor a child’s skin carefully for signs of redness, swelling itching or peeling. Babies with eczema typically show symptoms on their elbows, scalps behind their knees and on their bottoms.
Certain foods, such as shell fish, dairy products and nuts, have been shown to worsen eczema so a change in diet may bring some relief. There are also a variety of antihistamines and moisturizers that have been shown to have an effect. A dermatologist may have to prescribe a corticosteroid if the eczema persists. For eczema of the scalp, there are a number of medicated shampoos that have been shown to effectively reduce the amount of peeling and flaking. Some people suffering from the disease are able to treat it with over the counter medication while others have to rely on the assistance of a dermatologist. Regardless of the treatment needed, eczema patients must do everything within their power to control the disease because it only continues to worsen if it’s not dealt with properly.