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A Guide To Living With Eczema

967 words - 4 pages

Our natural reaction to an itch of the skin is to scratch for relief. While this innocent scratch may provide the needed relief for many, it can aggravate the skin of others, triggering further distress. Accompanied by blisters, a burning sensation, and extremely dry patches on the skin, this condition is a form of dermatitis commonly known as eczema.

Types of Eczema

Atopic dermatitis: This is a chronic type of eczema characterized by itchy and inflamed skin. It is common among individuals with a history of asthma and hay fever.

Exfoliative dermatitis: This type of eczema is characterized by thick, red, and scaly skin all over the body.

Seborrheic dermatitis: This is commonly known as dandruff. It appears as yellowish, oily, scaly patches of the skin on the scalp, face, ears, and other parts of the body.

Allergic contact dermatitis: With this type of eczema certain areas of the skin become red, itchy and weepy. This happens when the skin comes in contact with a 'foreign' substance.

Nummular dermatitis: This type is characterized by round, isolated patches of irritated skin. Generally these are formed on the back, arms, and the lower legs.

Stasis dermatitis: This type is often seen in legs with varicose veins. The pigmentation is usually darker, light-brown, or purplish-red in color as a result of blood congestion in the leg veins.

Dyshidrotic dermatitis: This form of eczema involves irritation of the skin on the palms of hands and the soles of the feet. It is characterized by blisters that burn and itch.

Atopic dermatitis is the most widespread and most severe type of eczema. The disease is common among any age group and is very prevalent among infants and children. The way in which the disease affects each individual is different, in terms of inception and severity. In infants, it is characteristic of the disease to begin around 6 to 12 weeks of age. In its initial stage , it may appear around the cheeks and chin in the form of a patchy facial rash. This is usually followed by redness and scaling of the skin. As these infants become more active, the disease progresses to areas such as the knees and elbows. The level of discomfort experienced by infants with atopic eczema makes them fussy and agitated. Fortunately for many infants, the condition significantly improves by the time they are 18 months old. 

In childhood, the disease commonly shows up on the elbows, wrists, ankles, hands as well as the areas behind the knees, and on the sides of the neck. When scratched, these rashes become rough and scaly. Areas around the lips may also be affected and may be very painful as a result of constant licking. 

For an extended period of time, the disease may seem to have totally disappeared. This is referred to as ‘the period of remission.' This may last a few months, and in some cases up to a number of years. For some children this phase may be even much...

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