Frequently Asked Questions
What is eczema?
Atopic dermatitis, also known as eczema, is a chronic condition characterized by red, itchy skin. Although it is common in children, it can occur at any age and often accompanies allergies and asthma. Eczema is often red or brownish-gray patches of raised bumps along the skin, especially on the hands, feet, wrists, neck, elbows and knees. These patches are often itchy, especially at night, and can lead to raw, swollen, sensitive skin from scratching. Even though eczema often appears before a person is 5 years old, it can continue into adolescence or even adulthood, sometimes clearing up for months or years at a time.
How is eczema treated?
Most cases of eczema are treated with creams that control the itching and treat the inflammation. These creams include a prescription-strength corticosteroid that can be used whenever eczema begins to flare up. However, some severe cases may require oral anti-itch drugs or even antibiotics if an area becomes infected.
Many patients experience relief by using:
- Dietary supplements: Such as Vitamin D and E
- Bath therapy: Using a combination of essential oils and ground oatmeal
- Plant-based therapies: Applied to the skin
Before beginning any treatment for eczema, it is important to discuss your symptoms and any home remedies you may have already tried with Dr. Kolsi.
What causes eczema to flare-up?
The exact cause of eczema is unknown. What researchers do know is that eczema is linked to dry, irritable skin that weakens the skin’s ability to be an effective barrier for bacteria. In fact, most people with eczema also have Staphylococcus aureus bacteria on their skin which can lead to serious infections should the bacteria enter the bloodstream. Thus, for children with eczema, preventing a flare-up is often as important as treating one.
Things that can make eczema symptoms worse include:
- Harsh soaps
- Long, hot showers
- Solvents or detergents
- Scratching the skin
- Changes in humidity
- Contact with allergens: Wool, dust, and pollen
- Tobacco smoke
- Air pollution
In some children, food allergies can also affect eczema. These food allergies include:
Keeping the skin clean and moisturized and limiting exposure to allergens can keep eczema from worsening.
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