National Eczema Week is this September, starting on September 12th. Lets take a look at this uncomfortable skin condition, how it affects different people and how it can be managed.
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What is Eczema?
Eczema is a form of skin inflammation that causes skin to become dry, itchy and sore. Some people only get small patches but in others it can be more widespread. Skin is often unbearably itchy. During a flare-up it can become raw and cracked.
It is a very personal condition and affects everyone differently. Eczema is not a rash to ignore and there are many ways to minimise the symptoms. Besides the obvious physical discomfort, eczema also causes a range of other problems. It can cause sleeplessness, anxiety and depression.
It affects different parts of the body but is commonly on hands, the insides of elbows and the back of the knees. Children sometimes flare up on their face and scalp.
Triggers and Treatments
Common triggers include:
- Irritants (soaps, detergents etc.)
- Allergens (pet fur, dust mites)
- Extreme weather (cold can parch skin, dry summer heat can cause flare-ups)
- Certain foods
Eczema usually runs in families. The most common type of eczema is atopic eczema. It affects as many as 1 in 5 children and 1 in 10 adults in the UK.
It is important to identify your triggers. Go to your doctor or an allergy specialist so they can help you manage the condition.
To ease flare-ups:
- Stay hydrated, moisturised and have cool baths – trap moisture in
- Use mild cleaners and emollients (moisturisers)
- Go fragrance free
- Use a cold compress to ease itching
- Wear loose breathable clothing.
Once you know your triggers you will be able to manage the condition better. During an eczema flare-up commit to a daily bath and moisturising routine. Try to reduce stress and keep your body at a consistent temperature.
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