Eczema covers a whole multitude of skin problems that cause the skin to become inflamed or irritated. The most common form of eczema is known as atopic dermatitis/eczema. Atopic eczema occurrences are on the rise in within the U.S. population, especially in young children and infants. Commonly, infants who develop the condition will outgrow it by their second birthday but many continue having that problem, requiring treatment throughout their lives.
Eczema commonly causes itching and often with that itching comes a rash, the rash normally appears on the face, knees, hands or feet but also affects other areas. The affected areas may appear dry and thickened, it may also have a scaly appearance. Fair skinned people may have reddish or brownish rashes while darker skinned people may have lighter or darker patches. Although there is no cure for eczema, it can be well managed by treatments as well as avoiding triggers.
In treating eczema, the main goal is to relieve and then prevent itching. Because the disease creates dryness that leads to itchiness, lotions and creams are recommended to keep the skin moist. Usually these are applied after showers or baths while the skin is still moist. If itching is already an issue, cold compresses may relieve it. Hydrocortisone and other prescription creams and ointments that contain corticosteroids are commonly prescribed. Even oral corticosteroids are prescribed in harsh cases.
In order to prevent outbreaks skin should be moisturized often, avoid sweating or overheating, avoid scratchy materials, avoid harsh soaps, detergents and solvents. Also avoid any allergy triggers.