Eczema is an itchy annoyance. Clinically known as atopic dermatitis or atopic eczema, this condition is commonly found in children but it can also develop in adults. It is characterized by inflamed red, itchy, dry skin. It can develop on any area of your skin, but is most common on the arms and behind the knees.
Eczema is a bit of a medical mystery, its cause not exactly known. It is believed that people who suffer with eczema have a genetic predisposition toward it. Also, abnormal function of the immune system (similar to how it reacts to allergic substances) can cause eczema. Environmental factors such as cleaners and other chemicals are also believed to trigger eczema reactions.
If you have patches of chronically dry, itchy, thick skin that appear on your hands, neck, face, and legs, you probably have eczema. There may be red or brownish-gray patches that itch more at night. The affected areas may have small bumps that leak fluid when scratched. In infantile eczema, the inner creases of the elbows and knees are the most common areas.
Eczema can be managed with over-the-counter anti-inflammatory lotions, but if these don’t get it under control, you need to come see us at Deschutes if these symptoms develop:
• If your rash becomes crusty or develops pus-filled blisters
• If over-the-counter remedies don’t improve the condition
• If you have a family history of eczema and develop a rash
How we treat it
Infantile eczema isn’t difficult for us to deal with. We identify the cause of the skin irritation and help develop ways for the parents to avoid future contact with it. Keeping the baby’s skin moisturized is also important.
For adult eczema, a good skin care regimen can be effective. But we may prescribe stronger medicines: hydrocortisone, antibiotics, antihistamines, corticosteroids, immunosuppressants, and prescription-strength moisturizers. Ultraviolet light therapy can also be used.
If you think you may have eczema, call us at Deschutes, 541-330-0900, and let’s take a look at it.