Dermatologists and Skin Care

Eczema - Treatment and Prevention

Written by Dr. Rabia and medically reviewed by Dr. Sneha Kannan

 
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The word eczema is synonymous with dermatitis. It is used for itchy and inflamed skin. Eczema can be acute, subacute or chronic depending upon the duration of the presentation.

How Is Eczema Classified?

Eczema can be broadly classified into:

  1. Endogenous eczema - The most prevalent in the population is atopic eczema, that is itchy skin condition presenting since childhood along with or without the history of sneezing, allergic rhinitis, and asthma.
  2. Exogenous eczema - Among exogenous eczema, contact dermatitis is the most common type whether it is allergic or irritant contact dermatitis.

What Are the Types of Eczema?

  • Acute eczema - Individuals with acute eczema can present with fluid-filled vesicles and blisters, erythematous papules along with itching. One significant history is the discharge of water and blood when the patient scratches the lesions.
  • Subacute eczema - In subacute forms, scaling start to become more prominent.

How Can Eczema Be Treated?

Eczema is a complex condition involving our immune system. This condition is often difficult to treat because it comes and goes again and again. Patients get short symptomatic relief, and then the cycle continues.

For the management of eczema, the first thing is to identify the type of eczema which the patient has. For this, history is very important like the age of onset, symptoms of the patient, family history, and occupation history. The commonly seen eczema in homemakers is due to detergents and chemicals used at home.

If eczema is due to external agents like chemicals, detergents, and allergen, we have to avoid that. The following are things done to treat and prevent eczema:

1. Avoid triggering factors.

2. Use cotton gloves with rubber or plastic gloves above them.

3. Keep affected area clean by washing with soap and water, but avoid Dettol and irritants.

4. Apply steroids for a short period to reduce inflammation.

5. The most important step is to maintain hydration for which emollients are applied frequently.

6. For symptomatic relief of itching, antihistamines are used.

7. In severe and chronic cases, immunosuppressive therapy is used.

Last reviewed at: 11.Mar.2019

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