Suffering from itchy, irritable skin? Dry and cold weather can result in several skin diseases, including eczema. This condition is neither life-threatening nor contagious, but it can cause severe discomfort to anyone affected.
The first step to treating and relieving this skin condition is finding out for sure if you’re suffering from eczema, or is it something else. This guide is meant to help you identify the condition through its symptoms, possible causes, and ways to treat it.
What is eczema?
It’s a medical condition that causes redness and irritation on the skin. Eczema-infected areas of the skin are red, dry, and scaly. This makes them more prone to irritants, which causes the skin to release chemicals that will make it very itchy. Severe cases of eczema are called “flare-ups”.
Causes and triggers
The causes of eczema are still unknown, but the triggers that make the condition worse are well-documented. One of them is the dry, cold weather that’s present every winter in most parts of Queensland. The other triggers of eczema include:
- Allergic disorders – People with pre-existing allergies like asthma, hay fever, and food allergy are more likely to develop eczema.
- Family history – The most common type of eczema is called atopic eczema, which is a hereditary condition and found in families with a history of allergies.
- Stress – Though the relationship between stress and eczema is not clear, most people with eczema experience flare-ups when they are stressed.
- Irritants – Detergents, disinfectants, shampoos, and other chemicals can make eczema symptoms worse.
- Allergens – Substances that activate people’s allergy also intensifies eczema. These include house dust mites, pollens, pets, and moulds.
Who can be affected?
Eczema is a chronic skin problem that can affect people of all ages, including newborn babies. Infants up to two years old can have infantile eczema, forming red and itchy patches on very dry skin. Meanwhile, childhood eczema can affect kids and will start around two to four years of age. Dryness and rashes may appear on the face, neck, behind the knees, on the elbows, and across the ankles.
As for adults, eczema can make the skin rough and thick, in addition to the usual symptoms of dry, red, and itchy skin.
Treatments and Management
If you or any of your family members show symptoms of eczema, don’t worry. This skin condition is manageable and treatable. It is also important to take the following steps:
- See a dermatologist right away to be properly diagnosed.
- As prescribed by your doctor, use corticosteroid creams or ointments.
- Apply a liberal amount of moisturizer to fight the dryness.
- Control itch by applying a cold compress and taking antihistamines.
Treatment doesn’t end once the eczema symptoms subsides. Remember that this skin problem is recurring and may come again when triggered. That’s why it’s important to protect your skin from different triggers and irritants.
- Apply moisturisers (non-food products) daily to hydrate the skin.
- Stay away from soaps, detergents, and other chemicals that can make your skin dry.
- Don’t swim in chlorinated pools.
- Avoid contact with animals, house mites, and other allergens.
- Take allergy testing to determine your triggers.
- Avoid exposure to chemicals that will damage your skin’s protective barrier.
- If prescribed, take oral antibiotics to fight recurring eczema.
- Set preventative measures like diluted bleach baths to stop possible skin infection.
Eczema Prescriptions at Greg Keily Chemist
These treatment and management tips will help prevent eczema flare-ups and avoid causing more damage to your skin. Just remember that whenever symptoms manifest, the best thing to do is to seek a dermatologist so your skin condition can be evaluated correctly. Seeing a doctor will also enable you to get the right over the counter medication for eczema, which you can order at Greg Keily Chemist, located on 98 Marine Parade, Southport, QLD.