Eczema is a condition of the skin that presents as reddened, dry scaly skin. Occasionally, small bumps or blisters occur. Eczema is not infectious, but may become infected. It is an extremely itchy condition causing the sufferer great discomfort.

Eczema is really an allergy, meaning that there are things that do not agree with the body, and the body’s immune system fights them by releasing a substance called histamine.  Histamine is responsible for the earliest and most important sign of eczema – the itch!

1.  WHAT IS A MAINTENANCE PROGRAMME.?
Your self help programme should include the following

BATHING

  • Use a moisturising soap
  • Use natural moisturising bath oils (non scented)eczema-causes-and-treatment
  • Use luke warm water
  • Do not use bubble baths
  • Avoid perfumed toiletries
  • Avoid taking long baths

CLOTHING

  • Cotton is preferable
  • Avoid wool and synthetic fabrics
  • Wear loose fitting clothing to reduce friction

MOISTURISING
Get moisture regularly, using an unscented moisturiser. Remember, you cannot over moisturise  your skin.

ITCHING

  • Keep your nails short
  • Keep your skin cool
  • Avoid becoming overtired and stressed

2.  MEDICAL HELP
Corticosteroids – oral or applied may help reduce inflammation and itching

Antibiotics – oral or applied
Secondary infections are common and should be treated quickly

Antihistamines – oral or applied

  • Reduce itching
  • May assist with broken sleep patterns
  • Wet Bandaging
  • Sterile bandages must be used
  • Soothes and reduces itchiness
  • Helps to heal lesions

Allergy Testing
A skin prick or blood test performed by a medical practitioner can confirm allergies (e.g. House dust mite, certain grasses, tree pollens, etc.)

Diet
Consult a dietitian for assistance and guidance regarding a suitable diet.

3. COMPLICATIONS
Eczema itself is not infectious. No one can catch it from you. But, as eczema skin often dries, cracks and breaks, it puts the sufferer at a greater risk of contracting skin infections. Medical advice should be sought at the first sign of any infection.

This article provided in the public interest by Dr. Ayoob Bux, Chairman of Hibiscus Private Hospital and Chairman of the IPA Independent Practitioners Association.  It is presented for your general information and is not a substitute for seeing your own doctor.