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Home » News » Letters » How to avoid Eczema flare this season

How to avoid Eczema flare this season

Publishing Date : 08 March, 2016

Author : DR BOIMA

Eczema is one of the words that frequently pop up in most of the baby showers that go around. A lot of attendants would be quick to advice the expectant mother to avoid perfumed and fancy skin products upon the baby’s arrival because of eczema, which is impressive! Showers organized and hosted by women are usually very educative and commendable.  Little do people understand much about eczema, or the fact that though eczema is most commonly found in children, adults can also live with it.

If you have a baby who has dry, sensitive skin that reacts to almost anything and everything by developing a red itchy rash you should suspect eczema. The itch may be so bad that one scratch their skin until it bleeds, which can make the rash even worse, leading to even more inflammation and itching. The rash can appear all over the body but many people tend to have eczema on the face, neck, wrists, and ankles, and in areas that bend, like the inner elbow and back of the knee.

People with eczema are usually diagnosed with it when they are babies or as young children and if the symptoms continue into adulthood they often tend to ease up and become less severe.  Although there are many types of eczema, the most common type which also happens to be the most severe and chronic (long-lasting) form of eczema is atopic dermatitis.

Exact causes of eczema are not known but there is strong evidence linking atopic dermatitis to allergies, and research has found that at least up to 80% of children with eczema will develop other allergic diseases like hay fever and/or asthma. A combination of the following factors is implicated in development of eczema;
genetics
abnormal function of the immune system
environment
activities that may cause skin to be more sensitive
defects in the skin barrier that allow moisture out and germs in
Treating Eczema
 

There are many triggers of eczema that can make it flare up or get worse. Treatment of eczema starts with avoiding these triggers. The commonly known triggers are;
soaps, shampoos, lotions and detergents
chemicals like disinfectants
irritating clothing e.g.  woolen
house dust mites
pets (cats > dogs)
pollens (seasonal)
microbes like certain bacteria, viruses and fungi
hot weather and sweating
certain foods like dairy products, eggs, nuts, wheat
stress

People with eczema are encouraged to take regular baths or showers (daily or more) so that their skin remains hydrated. They should avoid soaps and instead use bath oils (plain) and fragrance-free soap substitutes all the time. Epimax (white non-perfumed aqueous cream) works best for both bathing and moisturizing but other options can be obtained from one’s doctor or pharmacist.

Eczema sufferers should also ensure that their skin is well moisturized at all times. Moisturizers should be used every day after bathing or whenever necessary, to prevent the skin from drying up. The best moisturizers are creams or ointments without perfumes, alcohol or preservatives. Lotions should be avoided.

During an eczema flare, sufferers need more than just moisturizer. This is the time to visit the nearest hospital. Doctors can safely prescribe anti-inflammatories in the form of steroid creams and ointments and even antibiotics (if super-imposed skin infection is suspected) to control the symptoms. These should only be used under the doctor’s instructions, for a short period of time until symptoms have subsided for at least two days.

For questions or comments please email agboima@yahoo.com

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