Keeping Eczema At Bay
There are a number of ways in which you can cut down the possibility of triggering or aggravating the eczema. Here is a quick checklist:
- Wear cotton next to your skin. Synthetic or woollen clothes and bedding can cause over-heating. Some people can get away with putting woollens over cotton clothes.
- Use soap-substitutes and mild shampoos.
- People with atopic eczema may be allergic to dust, dust mites, grass seeds, pollens, feathers, animal fur and dander.
- Use non-biological soap powders and detergents.
- Use cotton mitts at night to stop you scratching and take antihistamines to curtail the itchiness and to help you sleep.
- Dietary factors are not commonly associated with adult atopic eczema so do not embark on a diet without consultation with your doctor or dietitian. Food additives are the most likely to cause problems, particularly artificial colourings and preservatives .
- Over-heating, frosty weather, low humidity, dry air, central heating, air conditioning and car heaters can all aggravate a dry skin and eczema.
- Get to know your own triggers. What sparks off one persons eczema doesnt necessarily trigger anothers.
Signs Of An Infection
Occasionally, areas of skin affected by atopic eczema can become infected. Signs of an infection can include:
- your eczema getting a lot worse
- fluid oozing from the skin
- a yellow crust on the skin surface or small yellowish-white spots appearing in the eczema
- the skin becoming swollen and sore
- a high temperature and generally feeling unwell
See your doctor as soon as possible if you think your or your child’s skin may have become infected.
Read more about infections and other complications of atopic eczema.
Types Of Eczema Commonly Found In Older Adults
There are many different types of eczema so its important to know your type so that you can avoid the triggers and heal the skin. Here are the most common types of eczema in older adults:
Common in adults over the age of 60, this type of eczema appears as fissures or grooves that are pink and red, affecting the superficial layers of skin. Its usually found on the legs but can be found on the upper arms, thighs and lower back. Other symptoms include soreness and itchiness.
Contact dermatitis is temporary and occurs when your skin is exposed to an irritant such as chemicals in a cleaning product or laundry detergent.
Venous Eczema mostly shows up on the lower legs in the form of itchy, red and scaly patches. Older adults who have a high body mass index or a family history of varicose veins are most susceptible.
Nummular eczema is characterized by coin-shaped scores on the skin. These sores may be open and are very itchy. The lesions may also be dry or weeping.
Seborrheic eczema tends to appear on areas of the body where there are a lot of oil-producing glands . It appears as red, greasy or swollen skin with white or yellow crusty flakes. While people of any age can develop seborrheic dermatitis, people with certain diseases such as Parkinsons Disease are believed to be at an increased risk.
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Q 1: Where Can More Information Be Obtained
Nip Allergies in the Bub
Patient support organisations : www.allergy.org.au/patients/patient-support-organisations
ASCIA is the peak professional body of clinical immunology/allergy specialists in Australia and New Zealand
ASCIA resources are based on published literature and expert review, however, they are not intended to replace medical advice. The content of ASCIA resources is not influenced by any commercial organisations.
Can Eczema Happen In Adulthood
Eczema can and does occur in adults. Sometimes, eczema starts in childhood, clears up for a while, and then returns later on. In other people, it may suddenly appear for the first time as an adult.
According to the National Eczema Association, 1 in 4 adults report that their symptoms first appeared in adulthood. Multiracial or white adults have the highest prevalence of adult-onset eczema, although studies vary on the specific percentages.
Overall, approximately 10 percent of adults in the United States are living with eczema.
Adults can get any type of eczema, including atopic dermatitis. Certain types of eczema are more common in adults. These can include:
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Lifestyle Changes That Can Relieve Symptoms
While it can seem that nothing will relieve the discomfort, you can ease symptoms of atopic dermatitis . Here are some easy-to-make changes that dermatologists recommend:
Moisturize after bathing and when your skin feels dry. Keeping your skin hydrated helps form a barrier between you and the world. To avoid irritating your skin, use a fragrance-free cream or ointment instead of a lotion.
Choose fragrance-free skin care products. Fragrance can cause an AD flare-up. To avoid this, only use products labeled fragrance free. You may see the word unscented on a product label. Avoid these, too. Unscented means that the fragrance has been masked. Although you wont smell the fragrance in an unscented product, a masked fragrance can still trigger a flare-up.
Test all skin care products before using them. While fragrance often causes AD to flare, other ingredients in skin care products can also cause a flare-up. To test a product, apply a small amount to skin without AD. Leave it on your skin for 24 hours. If your skin remains clear after 24 hours, its less likely to cause a flare-up.
Bathe daily, taking a 5- to 10-minute bath or shower in lukewarm water. A short bath or shower helps hydrate the skin. When you apply your moisturizer within 5 minutes of bathing, this helps to lock in the moisture.
Wash clothing in detergent that is fragrance free and dye free. The fragrance and dye can trigger a flare-up.
Related AAD resources
Guidelines For The Management Of Adult Eczema
This document incorporates and summarises guidelines recently published by the American Academy of Dermatology and the British Association of Dermatologists . It is relevant to the treatment of eczema in New Zealand.
Read these guidelines in association with:
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Atopic Dermatitis On The Face: Treatment And Tips
When atopic dermatitis affects the face, it can be devastating. Redness, itching, and oozing caused by this chronic inflammatory skin disease is not only painful, it can also feel embarrassing. An estimated 17.8 million people in the U.S. have atopic dermatitis, and many suffer from lesions on their faces.
Members of MyEczemaTeam talk frequently about the impact of facial AD on their self-esteem and quality of life. It makes me feel so ugly and self-conscious, lamented one member. Another said, I get a sick feeling looking at my face in the mirror each day.
Atopic dermatitis on the face can attract unwanted attention. People constantly ask me what happened to my face. Im afraid to go out in public, shared one member. It feels like everyone is staring or judging me, another said.
People with facial AD are often afraid to go to work, which can affect job performance, professional relationships, and attendance. Im embarrassed to be at work, admitted one member. Another said, I have an interview tomorrow and instead of preparing, all I can think of is peeling dry skin off my face.
Covering up facial atopic dermatitis with commercial cosmetics or certain topical treatments can aggravate symptoms of redness and itchiness. Ive tried all sorts of creams and steroid treatments. Nothing seems to work for me, said one member.
What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Eczema
The signs of eczema :
- are mainly dry, itchy skin. Because it is so itchy, it is often called “the itch that rashes.”
- include redness, scales, and bumps that can leak fluid and then crust over
- tend to come and go. When they get worse, it is called a flare-up.
- may be more noticeable at night
Symptoms can vary:
- Infants younger than 1 year old usually have the eczema rash on their cheeks, forehead, or scalp. It may spread to the knees, elbows, and trunk .
- Older kids and teens usually get the rash in the bends of the elbows, behind the knees, on the neck, or on the inner wrists and ankles. Their skin is often scalier and drier than when the eczema first began. It also can be thicker, darker, or scarred from all the scratching .
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How Is Eczema Treated
There is no cure for eczema. But treatments can help with symptoms. The doctor will recommend different treatments based on how severe the symptoms are, the child’s age, and where the rash is. Some are “topical” and applied to the skin. Others are taken by mouth.
Topical moisturizers. Skin should be moisturized often . The best time to apply moisturizer is after a bath or shower, with the skin patted dry gently. Ointments and creams are best because they contain a lot of oil. Lotions have too much water to be helpful.
Topical corticosteroids, also called cortisone or steroid creams or ointments. These ease skin inflammation. It’s important not to use a topical steroid prescribed for someone else. These creams and ointments vary in strength, and using the wrong strength in sensitive areas can damage the skin, especially in infants.
Other topical anti-inflammatory medicines. These include medicines that change the way the skin’s immune system reacts.
Medicine taken by mouth. These can include antihistamines to help itchy kids sleep better at night, antibiotics if a rash gets infected by bacteria, and corticosteroid pills or other medicines that suppress the immune system.
Other types of treatment can include:
- wet wraps: damp cloths placed on irritated areas of skin
- bleach baths: bathing in very diluted bleach solution
How Long Do Eczema Flare
The length of a flare-up will depend on what type of eczema you have, as well as the severity of the flare. With proper treatment, flare-ups may last one to three weeks, notes Harvard Health Publishing.
Chronic eczema such as atopic dermatitis can go into remission with the help of a good preventative treatment plan. Remission means that the disease is not active and you remain free of symptoms. Periods of remission can last for weeks or even years, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians.
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Southern Cross Medical Library
The purpose of the Southern Cross Medical Library is to provide information of a general nature to help you better understand certain medical conditions. Always seek specific medical advice for treatment appropriate to you. This information is not intended to relate specifically to insurance or healthcare services provided by Southern Cross. For more articles go to the Medical Library index page.
Food Allergy May Be A Trigger In Some Cases
About 1 in 2 children with atopic eczema have a food allergy which can make symptoms worse. In general, it is young children with severe eczema who may have a food sensitivity as a trigger factor. The most common foods which trigger symptoms in some people include cow’s milk, eggs, soya, wheat, fish and nuts.
If you suspect a food is making your child’s symptoms worse then see a doctor. You may be asked to keep a diary over 4-6 weeks. The diary aims to record any symptoms and all foods and drink taken. It may help to identify one or more suspect foods. If food allergy is suspected, it should be confirmed by a specialist. They may recommend a diet without this food if the eczema is severe and difficult to control by other means.
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What Foods Should I Eat Or Avoid To Reduce My Risk Of Eczema
The connection between eczema and food allergies is unclear. If you have food allergies, then one of the reasons why you must avoid that food is that it may cause or worsen dermatitis. Examples of common allergies include peanuts, dairy, eggs, sugar, alcohol and gluten. Pay attention to what you eat. If your eczema flares up after you eat a certain food, then you might have an allergy to it.
If you dont have a food allergy then there are no foods, including chicken, that will cause or worsen your eczema.
Q : How Is Eczema Related To Food Allergy
Whilst food allergy can trigger or worsen eczema symptoms in some people, food allergy is rarely the cause of eczema. Most food allergy causes hives , vomiting and irritability within 30 minutes of eating the offending food. Food allergy only occasionally triggers delayed eczema flare ups.
Many babies with moderate or severe eczema will also have a food allergy. In some babies with severe eczema, short term removal of certain food/s using a medically supervised elimination diet may result in better eczema control. An elimination diet should be supervised by a clinical immunology/allergy specialist , in association with a dietitian with specialised knowledge of food allergies.
If there is no improvement in two weeks on the elimination diet, it means that food is unlikely to be the cause of the eczema. If the skin improves, foods are introduced one at a time as a medically supervised food challenge, to confirm which food causes the eczema to flare.
If food allergy is not the cause of eczema, removal of the food/s will not reduce symptoms.
Children with eczema and/or food allergy can have false positive allergy tests, and this can lead to unnecessary removal of foods which may affect growth and development. Removal of foods may also increase the risk of developing allergy to those foods. Therefore, allergy test results should always be interpreted by a clinical immunology/allergy specialist.
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Enhancing Healthcare Team Outcomes
A team-based approach is essential for the care of a patient with atopic dermatitis, especially in moderate to severe cases. Eczema is a common condition seen in pediatric and family medicine offices. Typically patients with mild to moderate eczema can be treated in the office by their primary care provider with standard therapy. Patients with moderate to severe cases may require referral to dermatology for systemic treatments. If a patient is not responding to typical treatment regimens, they may benefit from a consult with an allergist for a patch or skin scratch testing. an interprofessional team of a specialty trained dermatology nurse and specialty-trained dermatology clinician will provide the best patient care.
What Can I Expect If Ive Been Diagnosed With Eczema
Nearly half of children with eczema will outgrow the condition or experience great improvement by the time they reach puberty. Others will continue to have some form of the disease. For adults with eczema, the disease can be generally well-managed with good skin care and treatment, although flare-ups of symptoms can occur throughout life.
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What Are The Current Treatment Options For Adults With Eczema
There are various types of treatments to manage eczema. A doctor can go over the different options with you and create a treatment plan that works for your specific type of eczema and symptoms.
Treatments can include lifestyle changes, medications , and alternative treatments. Well discuss each of these options in more detail below.
What Is Eczema And What Causes Breakouts
Eczema, also known as dermatitis, is a group of conditions involving the inflammation of the skin, including atopic dermatitis, stasis dermatitis, irritant contact dermatitis, and allergic contact dermatitis. While all of the conditions involve an immune response, the causative factors and traits of the associated immune response vary.
In stasis dermatitis, fluid build-up resulting from poor blood circulation leads to skin discoloration, redness, and ulceration. Irritant contact dermatitis is caused by the exposure of the skin to physical irritants such as friction, environmental factors such as water, or chemicals including solvents and detergents. Allergic contact dermatitis involves a particular type of immune response, known as an allergic reaction, at the site of exposure to substances called allergens.
Atopic dermatitis, the most common form of eczema, also involves an immune response to certain substances, but may occur at sites other than that of exposure. While the immune response involved in allergic contact dermatitis is temporary, resulting from contact with allergens and resolving after the cessation of exposure, that of atopic dermatitis is longer-lasting.
Atopic dermatitis, also known as atopic eczema, can lead to itchiness, cracking, scaling, skin rashes, swelling, and other symptoms. Typically the disease cycles through periods of increased symptom severity, known as flares, and times of improvement called remission.
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How Can I Reduce My Risk Of Eczema
There are steps you can take that may prevent eczema outbreaks:
- Establish a skin care routine, and follow your healthcare professionals recommendations for keeping your skin healthy.
- Wear gloves for jobs where you have to put your hands in water. Wear cotton gloves under plastic gloves to absorb sweat, and wear gloves outside, especially during the winter months.
- Use mild soap for your bath or shower, and pat your skin dry instead of rubbing. Apply a moisturizing cream or ointment immediately after drying your skin to help seal in the moisture. Reapply cream or ointment two to three times a day.
- Take baths or showers with tepid rather than hot.
- Drink at least eight glasses of water each day. Water helps to keep your skin moist.
- Try to avoid getting too hot and sweaty.
- Wear loose clothes made of cotton and other natural materials. Wash new clothing before wearing. Avoid wool.
- Avoid sudden changes in temperature and humidity.
- Learn to recognize stress in your life and how to manage it. Regular aerobic exercise, hobbies and stress-management techniques, such as meditation or yoga, might help.
- Limit your exposure to known irritants and allergens.
- Avoid scratching or rubbing itchy areas of skin.