The term eczema refers to a number of different skin conditions in which the skin is red and irritated and occasionally results in small, fluid-filled bumps that become moist and ooze. The most common cause of eczema is atopic dermatitis, sometimes called infantile eczema although it occurs in infants and older children.
Eczema is a general term encompassing various inflamed skin conditions. One of the most common forms of eczema is atopic dermatitis (or “atopic eczema”). Approximately 10 percent to 20 percent of the world population is affected by this chronic, relapsing, and very itchy rash at some point during childhood. Fortunately, many children with eczema find that the disease clears and often disappears with age.
Eczema also called as dermatitis, is a group of skin disorders. Atopic eczema, allergic contact dermatitis, irritant contact dermatitis, infantile seborrhoeic eczema, adult seborrhoeic eczema, varicose eczema and discoid eczema are different types of eczema. Atopic dermatitis is the most common type of eczema. It mainly occurs among infants and small children. In more than 90% of cases, eczema is found to occur in children below 5 years of age. It is a non contagious disease.
The exact cause of eczema is unknown, but it’s thought to be linked to an overactive response by the body’s immune system to a bacterium that normally lives on the skin or an irritant.
It is a genetic disease. It arises from interplay of multiple genes with external environmental factors. The more atopic genes that are present, the less environmental initiators are required to produce eczema.
Contact with the external trigger (allergen) causes the skin to become inflamed. The duration of the contact is not important. Eczema can develop on first contact (in days to weeks) or over time with repeated contact (in months to years).
Severe forms of eczema are caused by powerful allergic responses to external agents that cannot be eliminated from the environment.
Eczema could be aggravated by irritants like smoke, chemicals, detergents, solvents and so on. Even weather conditions could aggravate the condition. Excessive stress, heat and emotional stress also aggravates the symptoms of eczema.
Usually the first symptom of eczema is intense itching.
Affected areas usually appear very dry, thickened or scaly. In fair-skinned people, these areas may initially appear reddish and then turn brown. Among darker-skinned people, eczema can affect pigmentation, making the affected area lighter or darker.
The rash appears later. It is patchy and starts out as flaky or scaly dry skin on top of reddened, inflamed skin.
Painful cracks can develop over time.
Self Care at home
Apply an nonprescription steroid cream (hydrocortisone) along with anti-itching lotion (menthol/camphor, such as calamine). The cream must be applied as often as possible without skipping days until the rash is gone.
Clean the area with a hypoallergenic soap every day. Apply lubricating cream or lotion after washing.
Apply a mixture of 1 teaspoon camphor and 1 teaspoon sandalwood paste on the rashes. Apply nutmeg paste to the affected areas. Put natural vitamin E on the affected skin, it will relieve you of itching. Zinc taken orally and applied directly on the affected skin is effective. Both shark cartilage and lotion of blueberry leaves reduce inflammation. Use pine tar soap to wash the affected skin. Drink tomato juice daily, it will cure the symptoms in a few days.
Sunbathing early in the month is very beneficial. A light mudpack applied over the sites of the eczema is also helpful. In cases of acute eczema, cold compress or cold wet fomentations are beneficial.
Mash almond leaves in water and apply on the area, it will also help in the treatment of eczema.