Eczema has been widely discussed and more noticeable since the unfortunate case of an eczema patient killing her parents and herself.
Eczema is a common skin condition which happens to various age groups but is more likely found among children. Cases found before the age of one can be largely corrected or even eradicated.
Common symptoms of eczema include itchiness, dryness, crustiness, pain and redness of the skin.
Some only have a small patch of dry skin but some may have inflamed skin all over the body. It can occur on any parts of the body but it is most common on hands, inner elbows, back of the knees, the face and scalp.
Eczema usually develops upon contact with certain allergens and is most common among people with allergies. Most patients have inheritary allergies such as asthma and nasal allergy.
Some patients are allergic to environmental factors such as soap, detergent and weather changes. They may also react to stress and certain food items. To find out the causes of eczema, one should consider keeping a food journal or do a skin allergy test.
Eczema is divided into many categories. Discoid eczema causes round or oval-shaped patches on the skin. Contact dermatitis results from contact with an allergen. Varicose eczema makes the skin of lower legs thick and bumpy. Seborrheic dermatitis causes scaly red patches on the nose, eyebrow, ears and scalp.
Here is a summary of remedies for eczema:1. Avoid contact with allergens or irritants such as soap or detergent;2. Moisturize dry patches with skincare products;3. Use prescribed topical steroids with minimal side effects to reduce swelling, redness, and itchiness. Use non-steroidal anti-inflammatory cream on the sensitive area such as the face, eyelids, and genitals;4. Some other treatments include oral medications, injections, ultraviolet light therapy and wet wrap therapy.
Eczema is not an incurable disease. Once identified, it should be taken care of with professional help for the best treatment and recovery.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on July 13
Translation by John Chui
[Chinese version 中文版]
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