Eczema is one of those terms you hear, but aren’t quite sure what it is. While this skin condition is fairly common in infants, basically 20 percent of infants have it; it’s not common in adults, with only around three percent of adults suffering from the itchy condition.
Dr. Kronberg can help you deal with your adult eczema.
What is eczema?
Technically, eczema is the name of a group of medical conditions where the skin becomes inflamed and irritated. The most common form of eczema is atopic dermatitis or atopic eczema. This type of eczema is usually linked to an inherited tendency to develop other allergic conditions, such as hay fever or asthma. For instance, if you suffer when the trees in the area pollinate in the spring, your odds are better for developing eczema.
How do I know if I have eczema?
The main and most irritating symptom of eczema is itching. Sometimes an area will become itchy before the rash appears. Those rashes commonly appear on the face, back of the knees, wrists, hands, or feet. Rashes can occur in other parts of the body in rarer cases.
The affected skin will appear very dry, raised/thickened, or scaly. If you have fair skin, the rashes initially show up as reddish patches and then turn brown. If you have darker skin, eczema can mess with pigmentation, making the area either lighter or darker.
Eczema is caused by your body’s immune system overreacting to an irritant. Sound familiar? That’s exactly what an allergic reaction is. The response causes the symptoms noted above. Families with an extensive history of allergies or asthma are often prone to eczema, as well.
For some people, flare-ups come after contact with certain triggering substances or conditions. It could be exposure to a household product or chemical, it could be animal dander, it could be course/rough materials, or even a person was feeling too hot or too cold. There can be other triggers, too. The condition is not contagious.
Dr. Kronberg’s goal is to relieve the itching caused by eczema. Cold compresses and lotions applied after bathing are helpful. She may opt for hydrocortisone creams or prescription creams with corticosteroids, possibly even a prescription for antibiotics if itching has led to infection. Other more involved treatments can involve ultraviolet light, cyclosporine, and even two new drugs called topical immunomodulators (Elidel and Protopic).
There’s no need to deal with the itching on your own. If you’re showing signs of eczema, please call Dr. Kronberg at (713) 771-8941 and let her help.
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