Eczema (atopic dermatitis)

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Atopic Dermatitis Information from a Houston Eczema Specialist

Atopic Dermatitis, more commonly known as eczema, is a chronic skin condition that mainly affects children but may also continue into adulthood. The symptoms of eczema include red, itching, cracked and dry skin. The condition has no bias towards gender or ethnicity. As much as eighty percent of eczema cases start before the age of five. Since eczema is a chronic disease, the symptoms are present at all times. People with eczema in Houston have higher chance of developing hay fever and asthma. Atopic dermatitis is the most common form of eczema. It is typically hereditary and runs in the family. The immune system is also thought to be a factor in the occurrence of eczema. Other things like stress, irritating substances like soap, cold and dry climates, and dry skin also contribute the development of eczema.

There are various symptoms of eczema. Usually, the skin feels very dry and it may be broken and cracked in many places. Areas of the skin will be itchy and will become raw if they are frequently scratched. This same scratching can result in thickened areas of skin. The skin can also develop blisters, areas of raised skin, and brownish-gray colored patches of skin. These symptoms can occur all over the body but occur most on the hands, feet, arms, behind the knees, the face, neck, and upper chest. The symptoms tend to occur in flare ups, in which other symptoms will also be present. During flare ups, the following may also occur: increased itchiness, increased dryness, more sensitive skin, blisters, and some areas can even become infected. These flare ups can last for a few days to a couple of weeks.

People who have a milder case of eczema will only have small areas that are affected with symptoms. Others will have the larger parts of the body affected. Certain activities will make the symptoms worse, such as taking long hot showers or baths, leaving the skin dry, sweating, stress, certain fabrics, dry air, and cigarette smoke, and even dust or sand. Some soaps and detergents can make the symptoms worse as well. It has been shown that eczema can negatively affect one's quality of life, especially in children. Children may experience difficulty sleeping along with lack of concentration in school, along with stress. An unfortunate cycle of events can also occur, which consists of constant scratching, which only makes the itching worse, which will result in more scratching. This can cause a lot of stress in the lives of those who are affected with eczema.

There is no definite cure of eczema, but there are treatments that can bring some relief to the symptoms or keep them at bay for long periods of time. Most children who have eczema will get better as they get older. There are simple steps to self-care that patients can take, such as resisting the urge to scratch, avoiding things that aggravate the symptoms, and improving the patients' diet and nutrition. Alternatively, patients can also seek treatment from a certified Houston eczema dermatologist.


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This site was last updated 04/25/13