Human skin is remarkably resilient, but it cannot fight all of its battles alone. Eczema is a prime example of an illness that may need medical attention. It starts as an itch, develops into a rash, and may change the appearance of the skin over time. While eczema isn’t life-threatening, it is a chronic problem for infants, children, and adults. The dermatologists at MetroDerm, P.C. are experienced at treating eczema.
If the problem is severe, sufferers may be embarrassed and hide from public view. Sometimes it is the itch which must be cured to allow a person to enjoy normal activities. The illness has been known to interfere with regular sleep patterns due to discomfort. Clearly, it is a medical issue which needs to be addressed by a qualified dermatologist.
Eczema and itching go hand in hand. Sometimes the itching comes first. It may start on the wrist, the hands, face, or feet. For some, the first signs appear on the back of the knees or another vulnerable spot. The rash follows, changing the surface of the skin. Any of these symptoms may indicate eczema:
- Itchy rash
- Painful rash
- Burning sensation
- Warm, tender skin
- Rough, dry skin
- Bumps that ooze, drain, crust over
- Reddish or brown discoloration (lighter skin)
- Lighter or darker discoloration spots (darker skin)
- Recurring inflammation of the same skin areas
- Inflammation over large area of the body
Normal skin has natural protection from outside irritants. With eczema, a gene variation has altered the skin’s ability to withstand contact with allergens and other environmental factors. As such, individual patients have individual reasons for eczema outbreaks. Some triggers may be obvious, but others may be hidden, making it harder to determine an underlying cause. Eczema is known to run in families. Parents who suffer may have children who are more prone to the disease. Another common factor appears to be the presence of asthma or allergies in the patient.
Stress also plays a role, causing outbreaks during the best and worst times of a person’s life. The fear of an outbreak may even be the triggering stress factor in the next outbreak. With proper treatment, this fear diminishes and takes this stress with it. Infections may occur in skin that is torn by scratching. This may result in the need for antibiotics. It is especially important in children and infants to be on the lookout for signs of infection. Warm spots or streaks may indicate the need for immediate treatment.
Infants and Children
Eczema is most common among children. Their immune system hasn’t caught up to the problem, and they are most likely to suffer outbreaks of the chronic disease. Some 10 to 20 percent of babies will suffer from the illness. Some three percent of children will continue to suffer. Parents of infants should watch for unusual skin patches anywhere on the body, especially the face and scalp. Oozing, crusting skin patches indicate a definite need for medical intervention.
In babies and children, eczema should be treated immediately to reduce symptoms and begin the healing process. The proper products and skin care are vital to maintaining their long-term skin health as well as to relieving their current rash. Pediatric dermatology is one of our specialties at MetroDerm, P.C. and we will handle your young child’s problem with expert care.
Teens and Adults
Treating eczema improves a patient’s quality of life. Adults who struggle with this disease may find it affecting their work and other aspects of daily living. As much as it causes pain, this illness is especially hurtful to a teenager’s self-esteem. Beyond treating today’s rash, the goal should be to manage and prevent future outbreaks. Talk with a medical professional who can help end the rash, itch, pain, and aggravation associated with this illness. MetroDerm’s providers use the latest researched-based treatments to care for eczema patients.
The Mayo Clinic makes these suggestions for those who are trying to manage or prevent eczema outbreaks:
- Moisturize twice a day
- Use gentle soaps
- Take shorter baths or showers
- Use warm, not hot water
- Pat skin lightly to dry
- Look for and eliminate possible triggers
Each patient is unique; therefore, results of treatment may vary.
Let us help you find the right approach to treatment for your eczema. With our four Atlanta area offices, you are sure to find a MetroDerm, P.C. location near your home or work.