Eczema

Overview of Eczema

Eczema is a common inflammatory skin condition. It occurs mostly in children. No cure is available for eczema but treatment plans are made to prevent flare-ups.

Eczema Meaning in Urdu

ایکزیما جِلد کی ایک بیماری جس کی وجہ سے جِلد خشکی، خارش، اور سوزش کا شکار ہو جاتی ہے۔ یہ بیماری سب سے زیادہ نوجوانوں کو متاثر کرتی ہے۔ ایکزیما کی وجہ سے کافی بے چینی کا سامنا کرنا پڑ سکتا ہے، تاہم یہ ایک متعدی بیماری نہیں ہے۔ اس بیماری کی بنیادی وجوہات میں مدافعتی نظام کے مسائل، ماحولیاتی آلودگی، اور ذہنی دباؤ شامل ہے۔ قدرتی علاج کی مدد سے ایکزیما سے چھٹکارا پانا آسان نہیں ہوتا، اس لیے اس سے نجات حاصل کرنے کے لیے عمومی طور پر ادویات تجویز کی جاتی ہیں۔

Signs and Symptoms of Eczema

Skin disorders vary in their appearance. The most common feature among all of them is a red patch of the skin followed by swelling or itching. Eczema is another common skin disorder affecting people worldwide.
Eczema (Jild Par Kharish Hona/ جلد پر خارش ہونا, چھاجن) is the skin condition identified by inflamed, cracked, and rough skin. Eczema causes the skin to become red, dry, itchy, and scaly. It can be mild as well as severe.
Eczema is not contagious. It usually affects adults.
Itching in eczema is the first symptom treated. This disorder can be outgrown or it might continue throughout life.

Eczema Prevalence

Worldwide, eczema affects 15-30 percent of children and 2-10 percent of adults.
In Pakistan, the prevalence of atopic eczema is 44%. Karachi has a prevalence rate of 18.7 percent. In school-going children 21.8% have eczema.
In Punjab, 31.07 percent of the population is affected by eczema.

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Types of Eczema

Symptoms in children and adults are different. Almost 60 percent of children become asymptomatic by adolescence.
Symptoms can worsen over the period or may clear up.
Signs and symptoms of eczema vary in each of the types. The types with their respective symptoms are as follows:

Symptoms of Eczema in Infants

Infants under the age of 2 show the following symptoms:

  • Rash on scalp and cheek
  • Itchy skin due to rash
  • Rash that leaks fluid

Symptoms of Eczema in Children

Children of age 2 and above show the following symptoms:

  • Bumpy rash
  • Thickening of skin
  • Rash that changes colour
  • Creases of elbows and knees are the most affected area
  • Rash on buttocks and legs

Atopic Dermatitis Symptoms

The symptoms of atopic dermatitis materialize as follows:

  • Skin changes colour in the rash area
  • Rash in the crease of elbows and knees
  • The skin might get thicker
  • The appearance of rash following scratching
  • Fluid-filled small bumps

Contact Dermatitis Symptoms

Its symptoms include:

  • Red, itchy skin (sometimes stings)
  • Hives formation
  • Fluid-filled blisters
  • Thickening of skin
  • Scaly raised patches of skin

 Hand Eczema Symptoms

Symptoms are as follows:

  • Red, itchy and dry hands
  • Cracks
  • Blisters
  • Scaly skin

Nummular Eczema Symptoms

  • Round, oval or coin-shaped spots on the skin
  • Itchiness
  • Scaly spots

Dyshidrotic Eczema Symptoms

  • Symptoms include:
  • Scaly and flaky skin with cracks
  • Fluid-filled blisters
  • Fingers, toes, palms, and soles of the feet show blisters
  • Itching
  • Blisters may hurt

Neurodermatitis Symptoms

  • Red, raised patches on the skin
  • Patches are often scaly and might thicken
  • Bleeding might occur in case of scratching
  • Itching
  • Arms, legs, scalp, soles of feet, genitals being the most affected area

Stasis Dermatitis Symptoms

Symptoms of stasis dermatitis are:

  • Swelling of lower legs
  • Varicose veins
  • Dry and itchy skin
  • Aching legs after walking
  • Sore on lower legs
  • Pain in feet

Causes of Eczema

There are primarily seven types of eczema based on their chemistry:

  • Atopic Dermatitis

The most common type of eczema is atopic dermatitis. It forms a triad along with hay fever and asthma. It is triggered in childhood with mild symptoms. Atopic eczema usually occurs alongside asthma and hay fever. It is usually chronic.

  • Contact Dermatitis

The name itself describes this type. This type is caused by a reaction of touch stimuli.

  • Allergic Contact Dermatitis is an immune system reaction to allergens such as latex or metal.
  • Irritant Contact Dermatitis is the reaction to a chemical or substance irritant on the skin.
  • Hand Eczema

Hand eczema as the name suggests only affects the hands. It can be triggered by the regular use of chemicals that irritate the skin.

  • Nummular Eczema

Nummular comes from the Latin ‘nummulus’, which means shaped like a coin. In this type of eczema, oval or coin-shaped spots appear on the skin. Appearance-wise, it is the most different type of eczema and causes severe itching.

  • Dyshidrotic Eczema

It is differentiated by blisters on hands and feet. Women are more affected than men.

  • Neurodermatitis

It is similar to atopic dermatitis. Red, scaly, and thick skin are signs of neurodermatitis.

  • Stasis Dermatitis

Leaking of fluid out of weakened veins into the skin. This results in redness, itching, swelling, and pain.

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Risk Factors of Eczema

Eczema usually develops in a child’s first year. Some outgrow their eczema, but in some cases, eczema worsens in adulthood.

Eczema can pave the way to many other skin infections such as warts.

Atopic Dermatitis Causes

A thin barrier of the skin causes atopic dermatitis. Thin skin allows the infection to take root and often causes more allergic reactions and irritation. The likely cause is:

  • Genetics
  • Environmental triggers
  • Weak immune system
  • Dry skin

Contact Dermatitis Causes

Many substances can cause a reaction and irritate the skin. The most common causes are:

  • Soaps
  • Detergents
  • Latex
  • Metal
  • Paint
  • Jewellery
  • Poison ivy
  • Perfumes
  • Tobacco smoke

Hand Eczema Causes

Since it is caused by chemical irritants, people who are in direct contact with such substances are likely to get hand eczema such as;

  • Hairdressers
  • Healthcare professionals
  • Dry cleaners
  • Janitors and Cleaners

Nummular Eczema Causes

The most likely causes are:

  • Insect bite
  • Allergic reaction to metals or chemicals
  • Dry skin
  • Atopic Dermatitis

Dyshidrotic Eczema Causes

It has a combination of causes:

  • Stress
  • Nickel, cobalt, or chromium salt exposure
  • Allergy
  • Damp hands and feet

Neurodermatitis Causes

The most likely causes are:

  • Stress
  • Environmental factors
  • As a secondary disorder in reaction to other eczema or psoriasis

Stasis Dermatitis Causes

The most likely causes are:

  • Blood flow problems
  • Malfunctioning of valves
  • The pooling of blood in veins of the legs

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Prevention

Following are some of the common risk factors of eczema:

  • Living in extremely cold climates
  • Being born by a mother who is older in age
  • Long term exposure to secondhand smoke
  • Having a high birth weight
  • Several environmental factors such as pollens or animal dander
  • Indoor air
  • Food allergies
  • Intake of hard water as a child
  • Family history

Health Complications of Eczema

Eczema is a medical condition in which the skin becomes red and itchy. Although it is more prevalent in children yet it can occur at any age. Given below are some of the complications that are associated with this disease.

  • Asthma and Hay Fever

More than half of young people tend to develop asthma and other respiratory problems if they are suffering from eczema.

  • Chronic Itching, Scaling Of the Skin

Continuous irritation can lead to serious itching problems. Scratching can make your skin worse. The skin can become discoloured, thick and leathery.

  • Skin Infections

Itching and irritation can lead to sore formation and wounds. This also increases the chance of bacterial and viral infections.

  • Hand Dermatitis

People whose hands are highly exposed to the constant or prolonged use of harsh soaps or detergents, mostly suffer from hand dermatitis.

  • Contact Dermatitis

People who suffer from atopic dermatitis have more chances of developing this health complication.

  • Sleep Apnea

Due to the constant urge of itching, the sleep cycle of a person can be seriously disturbed.

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Diagnosis

Preventive measures can be taken to manage the symptoms of eczema:

  • Applying moisturizer twice a day to retain moisture in the skin.
  • Avoid scratching the skin.
  • Use hypoallergenic products that are less likely to flare-up eczema.
  • Avoid tight clothes. Wear loose, soft-fibered clothes.
  • Always protect your skin with gloves and protective gear when handling chemicals and volatile substances.
  • Don’t rub the skin, gently blot it.
  • Apply cool compresses to the skin to relieve the itch.

Treatment of Eczema | When to Consult a Doctor

A lab test is not needed to diagnose eczema. A thorough review of medical history and physical examination of the skin is enough to give a diagnosis.

A patch test may be done to determine other skin conditions.

Doctors to treat Eczema

Last updated on Wednesday 23/11/2022

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Dr. Asif Rauf

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Cosmolux ( The Hair & Skin Clinic )Rs 2000

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LaForma ClinicRs 1500

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Dr. Aamir Chhipa

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Dr Aamir Skin ClinicRs 1000

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