Eczema is the name for a variety of medical conditions that cause the skin to become inflamed and irritated. There are a variety of types, but the most common is atropic dermatitis, atropic eczema. Since Dr. Kronberg is all about the skin, here are some facts about eczema.
Who gets eczema?
Eczema is more common in infants that adults. Up to one fifth of infants develop the condition but most outgrow it by their 10th birthday. About three percent of U.S. adults develop eczema.
Eczema is always itchy. It is usually accompanied by a rash, although the itching can start first. The rash is common on the face, the back of the knees, wrists, hands, or feet. Affected areas look very dry and the skin appears thickened and scaly.
In infants the rash can become an oozing, crusting condition mainly on the face and scalp.
What causes this devilish condition?
Like allergies, eczema is thought to be a byproduct of the body’s immune system overreacting to an irritant. Although its exact cause is a mystery, eczema is found in families with a history of other allergies or asthma.
Flare-ups can be in response to certain substances or conditions. For some people, contact with rough or course materials causes an itchy reaction. For others, exposure to certain household cleaners like soap or detergent can do it. For others, animal dander. Stress can cause the condition to worsen. Unlike some rashes, eczema is not contagious.
Diagnosis and treatment
Dr. Kronberg can usually diagnose eczema by a simple examination of your skin and by asking a couple questions. She may perform allergy tests to determine the irritants.
Treatment includes hydrocortisone creams, antihistamines, phototherapy, and the drug cyclosporine. Other drugs are also possible in more extreme cases, but they can have some serious side effects.
If you have an itchy area with a rash, you may have eczema. Call Dr. Kronberg at (713) 771-8941 for an appointment to help you get past the itching and irritation.