Eczema is a common form of skin inflammation that causes the skin to become itchy, red, swollen and painful. Symptoms can vary from a mild rash that disappears quite quickly to a more severe condition that’s present for a long time. The main goal of treatment is to eliminate itching which, in left untreated, can provoke or worsen the other symptoms.
Eczema generally occurs in babies and children, although it can occur at any time of life. Eczema usually develops in the first year of life. Most children have a substantial improvement in their eczema by their mid-teens but, in some, severe eczema persists into adulthood.
Eczema usually starts on the face followed by the hands and feet. Older children tend to be affected in the elbow and knee creases, neck, wrists, ankles and feet. The hands and feet tend to be the most commonly affected areas in adults. Eczema is not a contagious condition.
Will my eczema symptoms improve?
Eczema is a chronic condition, and the symptoms can come and go. The symptoms are treatable. Talk to your allergist about topical ointments or creams that can be applied to the skin. You can also help manage your eczema with regular moisturizing after baths and showers, avoiding things that may trigger a flare-up (pollen or animal dander, for example), avoiding extremes in humidity levels, using non-perfumed soaps, and wearing loose-fitting, soft cotton clothing.
Is all eczema the same?
No. Many other types of inflammatory skin conditions are part of the eczema family. One such example is contact dermatitis, which is caused by direct contact with substances such as latex, detergents, perfumes, and a host of other allergens and substances to which an individual has developed sensitivities.
Will my child grow out of her eczema?
Many children find their eczema diminishes, or even disappears before they start grade school. That said, it’s hard to know which children will outgrow their eczema and which will have symptoms that continue into adulthood. Those who suffered from eczema as a child may always have a tendency towards dry skin. Most people who have eczema that continues into adulthood find methods to cope with their very dry skin including the use of moisturizers to help control flare-ups.