Eczema is a common and yet misunderstood disease.
In today’s post, I will explain what eczema is and what you should know if you have a loved one with eczema.
What is eczema?
Eczema, which is also called atopic dermatitis, is a chronic skin care condition.
Although, it usually begins when a person is a child, it can show up at any age.
Eczema is considered an autoimmune condition.
To understand what this means, it is important to understand how the immune system works.
The immune system of your body is able to fight off bacteria and yeast using various cell types.
Your immune system is able to do this because it recognizes certain unique factors about bacteria and other microbes that provides information to the cells that these are “the enemy”.
In certain instances however, your immune system becomes hypersensitive and will fight your own body because it is somehow recognizing it as “the enemy”.
And this is the underlying factor when it comes to autoimmune disease.
What causes eczema?
Although the cause of eczema is not fully understood, we know it is happens as a result of an overactive immune system like I described above.
Because it occurs commonly in children-10-20% of children in the developed world suffer from eczema- some scientists suggest that air pollution and less exposure to infections which “prime” the immune system and make it robust, could be causes of eczema.
Symptoms of eczema
The most common symptom of eczema is dry, scaly and itchy skin.
Most people with eczema usually also have another type of allergy.
For people who have severe eczema, scratching the itchy skin may cause the skin to break and ooze fluid.
Over time, eczema can lead to thickened, scaly and dry skin.
People with eczema regularly have “flare-up” periods where the condition gets worse. This could happen as a result of:
- Fabric texture (eg wool clothing)
- Temperature changes
- Food allergies
Furthermore, for a lot of people, not only do they suffer physically from the disease, they might also be worried about their appearance.
Thus, it is not uncommon for someone with eczema to constantly cover up their skin or avoid events where they would have to uncover their skin.
How to manage eczema
As you can already tell, eczema is both physically and mentally difficult for the person who has it.
What can you do as a caregiver who has a loved one with eczema?
Or perhaps you have eczema yourself and are looking for tips?
Here you go.
- If you (or your loved one) has never seen a doctor to receive a diagnosis about your skin condition being eczema, don’t guess. Using homemade treatments without the proper diagnosis can lead to issues along the line.
- Avoid situations that could cause an eczema flare-up. This is not always possible because we cannot control weather conditions for instance. However, once you learn what triggers a flare-up for you avoid those triggers. Doing this is one of most effective ways to keep eczema at bay-especially now that summer is around the corner.
- Ask your doctor for a prescription. Because eczema is a type of allergy, your doctor might most likely prescribe antihistamines. These work best for reducing itchiness. Find out from your doctor which one would be best for you.
- If need be, speak to a mental health professional about how having eczema makes you feel. Stress is one of the causes of a flare-up. If you deal with that stress properly, you can prevent it from coming back for a long while.
Eczema is annoying.
And for some, it causes self-esteem issues.
The points I shared above should help you and your loved one understand and manage eczema effectively.
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