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Eczema - medical information

Causes

  • While the exact cause of eczema remains unclear, it is believed to result from a hyperactive response of our immune system to an irritant.
  • It often occurs together with allergies and frequently runs in families.
  • A family history of hay fever or asthma is frequently reported.
  • For some children and young people this will be a minor condition but for some it can seriously impact on their quality of life.
  • Eczema presents as an itchy skin condition that is often dismissed as minor.
  • However the discomfort from itching and the sudsequent loss of sleep should not be underestimated.
  • It is often said that children will 'grow out' of childhood ezcema, but a significant number do not, so therefore it is important that it is managed well at home and at school.

Symptoms

  • Severe itching
  • Cracked and inflammed skin
  • Disturbed sleep and concentration due to severe itching
  • Food allergens e.g. egg, inadvertently taken, may provoke acute ezcema  

Treatments

  • The key treatments are topical hydration of the skin using emolients (medical moisturisers) and the avoidance of allergens that may trigger eczema.
  • Regular use of emolients to keep the skin hydrated is very important.
  • Rapid treatment of infection should the skin become infected.