Atopic Dermatitis or Eczema is a common skin disease that lasts for a long time and affects a majority of world’s population at one point of the time or the other. This is not a single disease but a reaction pattern produced by various conditions. This condition is more prevalent in people suffering from hay fever and asthma. In the beginning, it appears as small blisters which later on convert into thickened plaques of skin. If suffering from this condition, it is important to diagnose the kind of eczema you are suffering from to get treated effectively.
What Causes Eczema?
No specific cause of eczema has been known till date; however, it is believed that this skin disease develops due to a combination of environmental and hereditary factors. Small kids are likely to develop this skin disease if one or both their parents are suffering from Eczema. Some of the most commonly known causes of eczema include:
- Some people get infected by this disease when they come in direct contact with an allergen such as hair dye, adhesive, soap and cleaning products, nickel, perfumes and antibiotic creams.
- If a person comes in regular contact with microbes, there are great chances that he will develop an allergy leading to Eczema.
- While stress is not the common cause of eczema, it leads to worsening of the symptoms.
- Some people who are allergic to dairy food, eggs, and soy products or have a wheat allergy can also develop this skin disease.
Eczema symptoms differ from person to person and no two people can have similar symptoms. While itching is the most common symptom, many people may experience mild to severe itching. Some of the symptoms to look for include:
- Red, inflamed skin
- Dark colored patch
- Dry, sensitive skin
- Oozing or crusting
- Rough scaly patches of skin
- Swelling in different areas of the body
Over time, the symptoms can become more obvious and the rashes become bumpy, can thicken or darken in color.
Doctors will suggest you to take up various tests as no single test can be used to diagnose this skin disease. The patient may be advised to visit the doctor multiple times to get correctly diagnosed. Some tests involved to diagnosis the condition include:
- Patch Test: In this test, the doctor places various substances onto the skin surface of the patient to test for skin allergies.
- Skin Prick Testing: The doctor pricks the skin with a needle containing a small amount of suspected allergen to test for allergies. Various allergens such as food or pollen are used in the needle.
The patient should undertake a particular treatment plan to treat the skin disease in the shortest possible time. The doctor may advise you to use topical corticosteroid ointments and creams, apart from systemic corticosteroids, antibiotics, antihistamines, topical calcineurin inhibitors or indulging in phototherapy.
In controlling eczema, you should:
- Take regular warm baths
- Moisturize your skin everyday and keep it lubricated
- Use a mild soap with no harsh chemicals in it
- Avoid activities that make you sweat
- Wear cotton clothes and avoid tight-fitting clothing
- Find a treatment routine that helps you control the disease