Eczema

The symptoms and history of Ben

When Ben was an infant, about three months old, he developed red, cracked, and weeping areas of skin on his face and hands. As a child, Ben was diagnosed with a severe allergy to dairy products, which when eaten caused his rash-like skin troubles to resurface. Ben often had this "rash" on his wrists, ankles, front of elbows, and behind the knees. The change of seasons often had a harsh effect on his skin, as well as periods of stress. He discovered that his mother also suffered from similar symptoms, but diminished as she got older and remained on a strict diet.

Etiology-cause or source

Doctors don't know exactly what causes eczema. The most common type of eczema -- atopic dermatitis-- resembles an allergy. But the skin irritation, which is more often seen in children rather than adults, is not an allergic reaction. The current thinking is that eczema is caused by a combination of factors that include the following:

  • Genetics
  • Abnormal function of the immune system
  • Environment
  • Activities that may cause skin to be more sensitive
  • Defects in the skin barrier that allow moisture out and germs in


Irritants can make your symptoms worse. What irritates you may be different from what irritates someone else with the condition, but could include:

  • Soaps and detergents,
  • Shampoos, dish-washing liquids
  • Bubble Bath
  • Disinfectants like chlorine
  • Contact with juices from fresh fruits, meats, vegetables


Other causes of eczema are as follows:

  • Wind
  • Low humidity
  • cold temperatures


-The allergy that Ben has that resembles this would be his allergy to dairy products.

-Since it is more often seen in children than adults it would make since as to how when his mother got older they diminished.

Symptoms- signs/characteristics

The symptoms of eczema are different for each person. The rash may even look different or affect different parts of your body from time to time. It can be mild, moderate, or severe. Generally, people with eczema symptoms suffer from dry, sensitive skin. Eczema is also known for its intense itch. The itch may be so bad that you scratch your skin until it bleeds, which can make your rash even worse, leading to even more inflammation and itching. This is called the itch-scratch cycle.


The most common signs of eczema are dry sensitive skin, intense itching, red inflamed skin, a recurring rash, scaly areas, rough leathery patches, oozing or crusting, areas of swelling, and dark colored patches of skin.

Treatment

People try many treatments for eczema to relieve the itch. They use over-the-counter remedies they can get in a drugstore. They use prescription medications they get from their doctors. They even try an alternative eczema treatment, such as herbs. Still, one study found that many people are not satisfied with the effectiveness of their medications. They often say their medications do not work, are messy to use, are too expensive, and cause side effects.

To treat eczema, you must take good care of your skin. Take warm, not hot, baths quite often and always moisturize afterwards to keep your skin moist. Some other things you can do to treat your eczema are as follows:

  • Moisturize every day.
  • Wear cotton or soft fabrics. Avoid rough, scratchy fibers and tight clothing.
  • Take lukewarm baths and showers, using mild soap or non-soap cleanser
  • Gently pat your skin dry with a soft towel – do not rub.
  • Apply a moisturizer within 3 minutes after bathing to “lock in” moisture.
  • When possible, avoid rapid changes of temperature and activities that make you sweat.
  • Learn your eczema triggers and avoid them.
  • Use a humidifier in dry or cold weather.
  • Keep your fingernails short to help keep scratching from breaking the skin.
  • Some people with allergies find it helps to remove carpets from their house, and give pets dander treatments.



Topical Corticosteroids-Topical steroids are an important part of the treatment plan for most people with eczema. When eczema flares up, applying cream, lotion or ointment containing a steroid will reduce inflammation, ease soreness and irritation, reduce itching, and relieve the need to scratch, allowing the skin to heal and recover.



Topical Calcineurin Inhibitors-There are two topical prescription eczema drugs that do not contain steroids. These are called topical calcineurin inhibitors or TCIs. Both are effective in treating the itch and rash of eczema.

ELIDEL (PIMECROLIMUS)

Elidel® is a steroid-free cream for patients aged 2 years and older who have mild-to-moderate eczema.

PROTOPIC (TACROLIMUS)

It is a steroid-free ointment for patients aged 2 years and older who have moderate-to-severe eczema. Protopic is available in 2 strengths, 0.03% and 0.1%. Both strengths are approved for use in adults; only 0.03% for children aged 2 to 15 years.


Phototherapy-Phototherapy simply means treatment with light. For treating skin disease, Narrowband ultraviolet B (UVB) light is the most common type of phototherapy. This uses a special machine to emit UVB light which is the most beneficial portion of natural sunlight for skin diseases. Importantly, it also avoids the UVA aspect of sunlight which is very damaging to skin, and can accelerate aging and progression towards skin cancers.



Psychodermatology-Psychodermatology simply refers to the treatment of skin diseases with psychological techniques, such as Relaxation, Biofeedback, Hypnosis, and Meditation. The powerful connection between the mind and the body is well-known, and many skin disorders show a clear relationship to the state of mind: stress and sleep deprivation can directly damage skin barrier function, in patients with atopic dermatitis and even in patients with normal skin.

Scratching in eczema can also become a habitual behavior, sometimes brought out during times of increased stress.

Several studies have shown positive effects from these techniques in patients with eczema. They appear to be very safe and may help minimize exposure to treatments with more side effects.

Some downfalls of this type of treatment:

  • These treatments are not well-covered by some insurance plans and thus may be expensive
  • Although there are a variety of studies on this topic, there is less standardization for some of these techniques than for medications and other treatments. Because of this, it may be difficult to know if it is a failure of the treatment itself, or simply the way the treatment is being administered
  • These therapies tend to be somewhat time-consuming, often requiring multiple appointments with a provider over time to be properly administered
  • Patients generally need to be able to speak for these therapies; infants thus may not be able to utilize them

Prognosis

There is no cure for eczema but there are many steps you can take to make the symptoms go away and prevent them from coming back. It is not fatal.

"Fun-Facts"

-Eczema is not contagious

-Eczema is popular in families where people have had asthma, eczema, and also seasonal allergies such as hay fever.

-If eczema is severe. you later could develop asthma or other allergies

-Children born to older women are more likely to have eczema, children in higher social classes, children who live in urban areas with higher levels of pollution and children who live in colder climates

-Right now, as many as 30 million American may have it

Impact on Lifestyle

-have to deal with rash and getting rid of it

-need to deal with itchy skin

-be careful about what you eat

-be careful about what you put on your skin

Works Cited

"Eczema." National Association. N.p., 15 Aug. 2013. Web. 21 Apr. 2016.



"The Basics of Eczema and Your Skin." WebMD. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Apr. 2016.



"Eczema." KidsHealth. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Apr. 2016.