Eczema


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What is Eczema?
Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis and atopic eczema is a disease where skin gets itchy, reddened and cracked. This disease usually occurs to infants, but can also happen to people of all ages. If infants gets this disease, it may naturally get better and may even disappear when they grow up to an older age. But if you get it once you're an adult, there is almost no chance it would disappear by themselves. People with eczema often have a family background of the same condition, or other allergic conditions such as asthma or hay fever. The origin of the word "eczema" comes from the Greek work ekzein, which means to boil out. It is separated into two parts - ek meaning "out" and zema meaning "boiling".

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Causes

There are 4 main types of eczema which have different causes:
1. Contact of Dermatitis - after frequent contact to mild irritant (such as detergent) and strong irritant (such as battery acid).
2. Allergic Contact Dermatitis - developed when an allergen touches skin such as poison ivy and nickel. Nickel is actually one of the most common causes because many objects include nickel, such as coins, jewelry and even eyeglass frames.
3. Atopic Dermatitis - it is believed that different factors combine to cause this, includes: certain genes, having overactive immune system, barrier effect (known as gaps in the skin). Barrier effects allows the skin to lose water easily and germs to enter the skin without knowing.
4. Seborrheic Dermatitis - also combined of a number of factors which includes: person's genes, yeast live on human skin, stress, climate, basically a person's health in general. Research shows that this disease tends to be severe in people who have HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus).

There are further causes to make this disease worse:

  • beg bugs
  • pollen
  • pet fur
  • hot showers of baths.
  • mental stress
  • sweating
  • dry air
  • cigarette smoke
  • dust
  • sand
  • some soaps, detergents
  • certain fabrics - such as wool
  • food such as milk, eggs, nuts, soya and wheat

Symptoms
  • Broken Skin
  • Cracked Skin
  • Dry Skin
  • Many areas feel itchy
  • Thickened Skin - result of scratching
  • Some ares may become red and inflamed (important one)
  • small bumps
  • May lead to blisters and oozing lesions

The first symptoms would usually be intense scratching and others come on later.
This symptoms would occur on usually face, neck, insides of elbow, knees and ankles for adults and children. For infants, it would usually be forehead, cheeks, forearms, legs and neck.


Cures/Treatment
There is no cure for eczema today, neither is there treatment to get rid of all the scratches. But there are some treatments that can be use to reduce the redness and itchiness:

Self Care:
- avoid scratching - Itchiness is a part of Eczema, and it is naturally normal for people to scratch, but it makes the symptoms worse
- avoid trigger factors such as fiber and cotton, dust etc.
- nutrition - avoid eating food that would make the symptoms worse such as milk


Complementary Therapies:
- aromatherapy - medicine that uses plant materials
- massage
- homeopathy - another medicine


Bleach Baths

Emollients:

- softens and smooths the skin
- can be cream, lotion or ointment

  • Cream and Lotion - for red inflamed areas
  • Ointments are usually for dry areas

- keep skin moisturized, can prevent crack
- should be point on following the direction where hair grows
- should be used to replace soap - since soap irritate skin
- side effects of using emollients - may develop rashes

Alitretinoin (toctino):
- a medicine that helps lower the levels of irritation

  • swallowing one tablet per day for at least 12 weeks
- should only be used for patients with severe eczema, no respond to other treatments
- cannot be taken by pregnant women or breast-feeding mothers

Anitihistamines
:
- stops the effect of histamine (body releases when contact with allergen)

For infection:
- will need antibiotic if infected

  • oral antibiotic - taken for seven days, most common is fluxloxacillin, this is for large areas, and sever eczema
  • topical antibiotic - applied directly onto effected are, this is for small areas and eczema that are not so severe

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Bibliography
1. C., Nordqvist . (2009, July 20). What is Eczema? what causes eczema?. Retrieved on March 20, 2009 from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/14417.php
2. American Academy of Dermatology . (n.d.). What is Eczema?. Retrieved on March 20, 2009 from http://www.skincarephysicians.com/eczemanet/whatis.html
3. (no author) (2010, January 22). Eczema. Retrieved on March 20, 2009 from http://www.medicinenet.com/eczema/article.htm