Dermatologist Ottawa - Eczema is a form of dermatitis or inflammation of the outer layer of the skin referred to as the epidermis. The word comes from the Greek language and means "to boil over." In England, roughly 1 in 9 people or an estimated 5,773,700 people have been diagnosed with eczema at some point in their lives. In some languages, the words dermatitis and eczema are synonymous and frequently the two conditions are classified together. In other languages, the term eczema implies a chronic condition and dermatitis refers to an acute one.
The term "eczema" covers various persistent skin conditions. These comprise recurring skin rashes and dryness which have connected signs of itching, dryness, flaking, crusting, bleeding, oozing, blistering and skin oedema or swelling. Sometimes, temporary skin discoloration could result. In addition, scratching open a lesion that is in the healing process could enlarge the rash and could lead to probable scarring.
Describing the signs of eczema can be somewhat confusing. The descriptions could comprise the location, the possible cause or the specific appearance. Many sources even use the terms atopic dermatitis that is the most common kind of eczema and the term eczema interchangeably with could add to the confusion.
These classifications are ordered by the frequency of incidence.
Atopic eczema is referred to as infantile eczema, flexural eczema or atopic dermatitis. It is an allergic disease that is believed to have a hereditary component. Atopic eczema is prominent in families with members who likewise suffer from asthma. There tends to be an itchy rash that develops on the head and scalp, the inside of elbows, behind the knees and on the buttocks. This particular form of eczema is rather common in developed countries. It can be hard to distinguish between irritant contact dermatitis.
Contact dermatitis falls into two categories: allergic and irritant. Irritant dermatitis could result directly from a reaction to something specific like for example a detergent like sodium lauryl sulphate. Allergic dermatitis can take place as a result of a delayed reaction to certain allergen like for instance nickel or poison ivy. Wet cement is an example of a substance which acts as both an irritant and an allergen. Phototoxic dermatitis could occur along with other substances after exposure to sunlight. Approximately three quarters of contact eczema cases are the irritant kind. This is the most common occupational skin disease. If traces of the offending substance can be removed from one's environment and avoided, contact eczema could be curable.
There is a form of eczema that becomes worse in dry winter conditions and usually affects the trunk and the limbs. It is called xerotic eczema or craquele eczema, winter itch, asteatotic eczema, craquelatum eczema or pruritus hiemalis. The tender, itchy skin resembles a dry and cracked river bed. This condition is really common amongst older individuals. A related disorder is Ichthyosis.
Cradle cap in infants is officially called Seborrhoeic dermatitis or Seborrheic. This is a condition which is often classified as a form of eczema that is related closely to dandruff. It causes a greasy or dry flaking of the scalp and could even have an effect on the face, eyebrows and at times the trunk. This is considered a harmless condition except in severe conditions of cradle cap. In newborns, it presents as a thick, yellow, crusty scalp rash which is known as cradle cap. This condition has been associated to a lack of biotin and is normally curable.
Less Common Forms of Eczema
Dyshidrosis is one more type of eczema which likewise goes under the names of pompholyx eczema, dyshidrotic eczema, housewife's eczema or vesicular palmoplantar dermatitis. This specific condition generally shows up on the palms, soles and sides of toes and fingers. It presents with small opaque bumps called vesicles, thickening skin and cracks are accompanied by itching that becomes worse at nighttime. This is a common kind of hand eczema and it becomes worse in warm weather.
Venous e., Discoid e., DermaDermatitisetiformis or Duhring's Disease, Autoeczematization and Neurodermatitis are other less common forms of eczema, which are overlaid by viral infections. Some eczemas result from underlying disease, as in lymphoma for instance. There are several other rare eczematous disorders which exist in addition to these too.
Some professionals have attributed eczema to the hypothesis of hygiene. The cause of eczema, based on this theory is asthma and other allergic diseases is due to an overly clean surrounding. This theory is supported by epidemiologic research meant for asthma which states that during development it is very important to be exposed to bacteria and immune system modulators and thus, missing out on this exposure increases the risk for allergy and asthma.
Another theory states that the excrement from house dust mites cause the allergic reaction of eczema. Even if 5 percent of individuals show antibodies to the mites, the hypothesis awaits further corroboration.
Usually, the diagnosis of eczema is based mostly on history and physical examination, although, in various cases, a skin biopsy could prove helpful.
People who have eczema must not be given the smallpox vaccination due to the chance of developing eczema vaccinatum. This is a possibly sever and at times fatal complication.
Because there is no common cure for eczema, general treatments comprise the control of indications by relieving the itching and reducing the inflammation. Medications which are offered consist of hydrocortisone, corticosteroids, oral or injectable corticosteroids. These come with some probable side effects, most normally thinning the skin, though there is ongoing research in this field. Typically, these steroids are to be utilized very carefully and a little goes a long way.
Immunomodulators are one more type of cure even if a public health advisory has been issued by the FDA because of possible chance of lymph node cancer and skin cancer. Different professional medical groups disagree with the FDA findings.
Several severe cases of eczema are treated with immunosuppressant drugs. These are occasionally prescribed and could yield dramatic improvements to the patient's eczema but because they dampen the immune system, they could have major side effects. To be able to be on this kind of therapy, patients be carefully monitored by a physician and undergo regular blood tests.
utilizing antihistamine and various anti-itch drugs could help in the treatment of the itching factor of eczema. By initiating a sedative effect, these work to reduce irritation and damage to the skin. Several popular sedating antihistamines comprise Phenergan or Benadryl. Moisturizers are also applied to the skin to be able to help the soothing and healing purpose. Capsaicin applied to the skin acts as a counter irritant and hydrocortisone cream is also utilized, although, numerous health food stores offer some preparations along with essential fatty acids and tea tree oil as an alternative.
By applying cool water via a wet washcloth, a bath or swimming, many patients have found quick relief. One more proven soothing treatment is to apply an icepack wrapped in a soft cloth or even making use of air blowing from an air conditioning vent.
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