Eczema – Symptoms, risks and management Health

Eczema – Symptoms, risks and management

Eczema or atopic dermatitis is a skin-related condition in which the skin becomes red and itchy frequently. This condition is known to be a chronic condition as eczema can last lifelong. One experiences flare-ups periodically, which can irritate the skin. It is often observed that those dealing with eczema also deal with asthma or hay fever. While there is no cure for this condition, there are ways to manage the symptoms by making lifestyle changes.

There are some glaring symptoms which include scaly, cracked, thickened, and dry skin, raw and swollen skin from scratching, severe itching; especially at night, small, raised bumps on the skin which may have fluid in them and leaks when scratched, red to brownish-gray patches; especially on areas around the neck, chest, feet, ankles, hands, inside the bends of knees and hands, eyelids. You may notice these patches on either the face or scalp of infants.

The itching can get very disruptive to daily activities and sleep patterns, and if that is the case, it is advisable to see a doctor immediately for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

Risk factors and complications
There may be some people who are at more risk than others of developing this condition and those who already have a family history of eczema or suffer from allergies, hay fever, or asthma. Those with the condition may develop some complications like:

  • Sleep issues
    Due to excessive itching and irritability, the sleep pattern may be affected, leading to insufficient sleep. This may lead to other health complications.
  • Skin infections
    Those with eczema are at higher risk of contracting the herpes simplex virus due to the excessive scratching that leads to cracks and sores on the skin.
  • Neurodermatitis
    Also called lichen simplex chronicus, this is a condition in which the person scratches the skin even without any skin irritant triggers. This condition is developed when scratching becomes a habit due to eczema. The skin turns thick, leathery, and discolored.
  • Irritant hand dermatitis
    Since it is important to take care of skin at all times and prevent it from harsh chemicals, those working in jobs where their hands are required to be wet at most times may develop this condition.

There are some steps that can be taken to prevent frequent triggering or inflammation of the skin. It is often advised to apply moisturizer frequently to avoid any dryness and flakiness of the skin. You may even want to observe some triggers and work on avoiding those. Eczema can be triggered through various environmental factors like dust and pollen as well, so it is advised to be extra careful around such environments. Some people experience flare-ups due to some foods like wheat, soy, eggs, and milk, so make sure to exclude these food items from your diet. It is important to also speak to a doctor to see what foods you may want to take or avoid to help manage your symptoms.

Some other tips include:

  • Taking short, warm water baths that don’t dry out your skin
  • Using only gentle soaps, preferably using natural ingredients to clean yourself as harsh cleaning agents, remove the natural oils of your skin
  • Using bleach while bathing can help prevent flare-ups effectively. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, you can just add 1/2 cup (118 milliliters) of household bleach to a 40-gallon (151-liter) bathtub filled with warm water. Make sure you avoid concentrated bleach. Now soak yourself from the neck below for 10 minutes. Do this remedy twice a week for better results.

Foods that help manage eczema

Known for their potassium content, bananas are a must for anyone dealing with eczema. The potassium content is known to fight off inflammation. The fruit is readily available and can easily be incorporated into your daily meals. You may even add it to other wholesome breakfast recipes.

Sweet potatoes
This vegetable is known for its high content of vitamin C and protein, both of which help manage the symptoms of eczema. Since it also has potassium and fiber, sweet potatoes help manage flare-ups and contain healing properties. You can add this to your salad or have it all by itself with just lemon and salt.

The omega-3s in salmon have several health benefits, which also support the fight against eczema symptoms. Not just salmon, but all fatty fish rich in omega-3s can be a great addition to your diet to help manage skin flare-ups and irritation. Eating salmon also keeps the skin hydrated. You can simply steam the fish and add some fresh herbs and salt.