Between 10 and 20 percent of people worldwide develop atopic Eczema (also known as atopic dermatitis), making it the most common type of Eczema. For an estimated 65 percent‚ atopic dermatitis begins during their first year of life, and 90 percent have the condition before age 5. While rare, atopic dermatitis can first appear at puberty or later.
What is Eczema?
Eczema is a disorder which results in dry, itchy, inflamed skin. There are many types of eczema and they usually have the same symptoms of intense itch, a recurring rash, scaly areas of skin, or rough and leathery patches. If you, or your child, are bothered by any of these symptoms, it is likely to be eczema, of which atopic dermatitis is the most often type. Other types include seborrhoeic eczema (a common cause of “dandruff”), irritant contact dermatitis and allergic contact dermatitis.
What causes Eczema?
Eczema tends to run in families with a history of asthma or hay fever (allergic rhinitis). Other factors that can trigger eczema are exercise, heat and sweating, woollen clothing, grass intolerance or emotional stress.
How can Eczema be prevented?
Eczema outbreaks can usually be reduced with some simple precautions. The following suggestions may help to reduce the severity and frequency of flare-ups:
- Moisturize frequently
- Avoid sudden changes in temperature or humidity
- Avoid sweating or overheating
- Reduce stress
- Avoid scratchy materials (e.g., wool or other irritants)
- Avoid harsh soaps, detergents, and solvents
- Avoid environmental factors that trigger allergies (e.g., pollens, moulds, house dust mites, and animal dander)
- Be aware of any foods that may cause an outbreak and avoid those foods
Treatment of Eczema
After consultation with a dermatologist, over-the-counter creams and cleansers, topical steroids, non-steroid prescription ointments, antihistamines, antibiotics, oral anti-inflammatory medications or even UV-phototherapy may be prescribed depending on the severity of the eczema.