Eczema is a skin disorder that is characterized by the inflammation of the skin and is associated with the appearance of pus filled rashes on the skin surface. Eczema is considered to be a fairly prevalent disease which is pretty widespread all over the planet. The disease has been observed to be found to occur more commonly in infants and in younger children, although any individual from any age group may be prone to developing the skin condition.
The exact causes and reasons behind the development of eczema remain largely unknown to this day and as such, the treatment methods and remedies are only limited to controlling the signs and symptoms of the skin condition. Eczema is thought to be caused by a combination of genetic factors which is then triggered about by specific environment conditions or stimuli.
Eczema is not considered to be a serious or a life threatening disorder. However, it is associated with the development of a number of other allergies such as asthma and hay fever and is also considered to have a number of complications associated with it. As such, it is important to be aware of this condition and to try and prevent any attacks of eczema.
Eczema can be prevented by avoiding contact with the irritants or the triggering agents for eczema. These irritants tend to aggravate the signs and symptoms and include harsh soaps, shampoos, solvents, wool, fibers, grass, sand, pollen, dust, animal dander, mites, grass and several other agents. Some foods such as wheat, soybeans, eggs, dairy products, seeds and nuts may also contain allergens and can be included in the list of the causes of eczema.
Eczema may also be caused due to sudden weather or temperature changes like extreme hot that may lead to sweating. Thus avoiding contact with all the above factors may help prevent the occurrence of eczema.
While the exact cause behind the development of eczema is still debated, it is generally agreed upon that the disease is caused in conjunction by a combination of genetic or hereditary factors which are triggered off by environmental factors or stimulants.
Some individuals are more prone to developing the skin condition than others due to genetic factors. It has been observed that children who are born out of older mothers, individuals who have a family medical history of eczema, hay fever and asthma and also individuals living in dry, cold, urban areas are at a higher risk of encountering the skin condition.
Eczema is almost always triggered of by an environmental factor or an external stimulant and in case an individual manages to identify possible allergens and irritants and avoid exposure to them, eczema can be prevented.
The prognosis of eczema can vary widely from one individual to another. In certain individuals, the signs and symptoms of the disease disappear after about two weeks, while in others, the signs and symptoms have known to persist for months and sometimes even years. Some people encounter only a single bout of eczema with no future occurrences, however, a large number of sufferers go on to face recurring episodes of eczema.
Methods to Prevent Eczema
There are a number of commonly employed methods and techniques in order to prevent the occurrence of eczema. The following methods are widely used in the prevention of eczema:
Limit the length of baths and showers
Lengthy baths and showers, especially with the use of hot water can prove to dry the surface of the skin to a great extent. It is recommended that a bath or a shower should be no longer than ten to fifteen minutes in duration and the water should be cool or lukewarm at the most. Bathing oils can also help keep the skin nourished and moisturized.
Avoid soap substitutes
One must avoid the use of soap or detergent based shampoos or body bath liquids. These chemical solutions are alkaline in nature and tend to deprive the skin off moisture. One must prefer moisturizer based mild and organic soaps that retains moisture of your skin and prevents excess dryness. One must also use various types of body oils after bath keeps the moisture of your skin intact and prevents the chances of occurrence of eczema. It is recommended to use clear water for cleaning the body with only as mild a soap or shampoo as possible.
The use of moisturizers or emollients on a regular basis keeps the skin moist and soft, while preventing itching or scratching. One must prefer natural or herbal moisturizers over the one that contain perfumes or other harmful chemical which may even worsen the eczema flares. It is recommended to apply moisturizer on the surface of the skin after a bath and should be done at least twice a day.
Wearing light clothes
One must use blankets or clothes made up of cotton. One should strictly avoid wearing stiff or irritating fabrics like polyester or woolen clothing as they prove to be harsh on the skin and may prove to trigger a bout of eczema flares. Even blankets and carpets can prove to irritate the skin and people with sensitive skin or those who have suffered from an episode of eczema in the past should always maintain care to avoid exposing their skin to harsher fabrics.
Use indoor humidifiers
Use of heaters during winters may lead to dryness and excessive dryness is considered to be one of the factors that can cause eczema. One should always ensure the use of indoor air humidifiers in order to add moisture to the air.
Air conditioning and fans
Summer season can involve a lot of dryness of the skin and it is recommended to use air conditioners or fans when indoors during the season in order to keep the skin lively and fresh. The use of these cooling devices also reduces the chances of sweating and as such, can help the skin from developing the condition.
Antibiotics and Antiseptics
Antiseptics and antibiotics drugs may be used in case an individual with sensitive or inflamed skin is experiencing risk of an infection. However, these should only be taken under supervised medical prescription as they can prove to irritate the skin if used in improper concentration.
Use wet dressings
The use of wet dressings on sensitive areas of the skin can also help in preventing the skin from developing eczema conditions.
Avoid heat and pollutant exposure
One should avoid going out in the sun that may cause sweating. Use of fans or air conditioners in summers may help to prevent sweating. One should cover their face and skin with light cotton cloth to avoid contact with dust or other polluting agents.
Avoid contact with other irritants
Various plants and jewelry may also cause eczema. Thus one should avoid contact with these triggering agents. Different individuals prove to have different triggering agents for their condition and as such, it is important that every individual try and identify all of the possible skin irritants specific to them and avoid contact with these.
A diet diary may help you to recognize the causative or triggering agents for eczema. One should avoid taking the food items that may cause eczema flares. Some food items such as wheat, eggs, dairy products, soybeans, nuts and seeds may contain specific allergens which can cause episodes of eczema flares.
Statis dermatitis is a condition which is caused due to poor circulation of the blood, especially in the lower region of the body. Swelling of the leg is a common sign and symptom associated with eczema and it can be prevented by elevating the legs while sitting for long periods of time and by wearing compression stockings in order to reduce the swelling.
Family medical history
In case the family medical history of an individual includes members who had earlier been diagnosed with eczema, asthma or hay fever are at a higher risk of developing the skin condition. As such, these people ought to take extra care in keeping themselves away from irritants and possible triggers of eczema.
Adequate exercise can help improve the circulation of blood and fluids in the body and can also keep the immune system of the body healthy by fighting off stress. It is recommended to get good amounts of exercise daily. However, it is important to take care not to sweat excessively while exercising as excessive perspiration can cause the surface of the skin to become over sensitive.
Infants who are being breast fed must also be given adequate attention and the mothers should avoid getting themselves exposed to allergens as well. It is advised by medical practitioners that breast milk be fed to infants for at least six months to a year before transferring the baby to a solid diet. It is also important to keep infants protected from pollen, dust, molds, mites and pet hair.
Eczema can be an embarrassing, irritating and a frustrating skin condition to deal with. Studies have also demonstrated it to have some sort of link or correlation between eczema and some other diseases such as depression or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder syndrome. As such, even though the disease by itself may not be too dangerous, it can cause significant damage to the quality of life of an individual. As such, it is important that people understand as much as possible about the disease, how it can be prevented and what the most healthy life style measures to be adopted are in order to successfully manage this widespread skin disorder.