Eczema or atopic dermatitis, is a chronic inflammatory skin disease that causes itchy red areas on the skin, dry and scaly skin, thicker skin and in some cases, open, oozing and crusty lesions.

The following regions of the body are frequently affected by eczema symptoms:

  • Face and neck
  • Hands, wrists and elbows
  • Knees, ankles and feet

Eczema symptoms may come and go, but even when the skin appears clear, inflammation hidden beneath the surface could be waiting to flare up.

Causes of Eczema

Doctors believe eczema is linked to genetics or immune sensitivities. Around 70% of those with eczema say they have a family history of the disease.

Eczema occurs when the body is exposed to allergens or irritants. To rid the skin of the irritants, the body’s immune cells emit histamines, cytokines and other substances. The result is itchy, inflamed skin.

Though itchy, scratching too much might cause infection if the skin’s surface is broken. Yellowish, crusty skin (typically on top of the eczema), red, swollen pimples and pus-filled blisters are all signs of infection.

Some persons with eczema may have a protein called filaggrin deficiency in their skin. This protein acts as an anti-allergen, anti-irritant and anti-infective barrier. When filaggrin is missing, the skin’s barrier function is compromised. Some persons with eczema have high blood levels of Immunoglobulin E or IgE, which are immune system antibodies that trigger allergy symptoms.

What is the Prevalence of Eczema?

Eczema is a common skin ailment that affects 31.6 million Americans.

  • The most common kind of eczema is atopic dermatitis, which affects 16.5 million people and 9.6 million children under 18.
  • Approximately 3.2 million youngsters suffer moderate-to-severe symptoms.
  • Eczema usually appears in early life, usually within the first six months or five years.

Eczema Treatments

To avoid skin problems and improve quality of life, early diagnosis and treatment are critical. The following treatments may be recommended by your doctor:

  • Wet wrap treatment
  • Medications
  • Moisturizers
  • Phototherapy

Dealing with Eczema Symptoms

Those with eczema experience symptoms that impact their daily activities and quality of life. These symptoms, including loss of sleep, can be emotionally draining for both the sufferer and the family. Although there’s no cure, there are treatments available that can help manage eczema.

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