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Eczema may be referred to as the particular skin condition wherein it suffers from different problems including irritation, inflammation and other such disorders. Eczema is not associated with any single disease but various reactionary patterns of the skin due to different conditions that play a great role in developing this problem. Small blisters and redness of the skin are the major symptoms of Eczema. Usual eczema occurs in the form of atopic dermatitis, i.e. the atopic eczema. It is a group of certain diseases that may result in hay fever or asthma etc.

Symptoms – Eczema patients usually suffer from dried skin that may become red and itchy too. Inflammation is also the sign of this problem. Weeping and oozing small blisters are the usual symptoms of Eczema. It may result in crusted and thickened plaques of skin. Scaling of the skin is also a sign of Eczema. The face, wrists, back of the knees, feet and hands may suffer from rashes because of this disease. Other areas may also be affected with Eczema. The skin may become reddish or brown.  

Causes – Overactive response of the immune system to an irritant is considered to be the major culprit behind Eczema. Family history, asthma or allergies may also be responsible for this ailment that may occur because of defective skin barrier that results in occurrence of germs and decrease in moisture. Skin may become itchy because of contact with rough materials. Allergies because of certain detergents or soaps and too hot or too cold may also be the reasons of Eczema. Animal dander and stress may worsen the disease.

Diagnosis and Treatment – The dermatologist or the pediatrician looks at the affected skin and may suggest allergy tests etc for suggesting proper treatment. Patients suffering from atopic dermatitis may be advised to take oral medications including light therapy or steroid creams. Protopic and Elidel are also good to improve the response of the immune system to decrease flare-ups of eczema. Doctor should be consulted to use these drugs as they are associated with few side effects. As such they may be used on short term basis. Patients are advised to keep the skin moisturized and healthy. Soothing lotions are also recommended to get rid of dryness and itchiness of the skin. Cold compresses also work wonders.

Prescription creams or ointments enriched with corticosteroids or hydrocortisone etc also provide sufficient relief. They are helpful to reduce inflammation. Infection-causing bacteria can be killed with antibiotics too. Tar treatments and antihistamines are also good for itching of the skin. Likewise phototherapy involving ultraviolet light also works wonders. Cyclosporine may also be recommended for certain patients. Mild to moderate eczema may be treated well with topical immunomodulators.

Patients suffering from Eczema are advised to moisturize the skin on frequent basis. Sweating, overheating and stress should be avoided. Scratchy materials like wool should be kept at distance. Likewise solvents, detergents and harsh soaps should also be abstained from. Good hygienic habits are a must to stay away from this skin problem.

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