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Facts About Eczema (Eczema)
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Facts About Eczema

Ronald Vender, MD, FRCPC

Identifying Eczema:

Recurring itches, dry skin, and swelling commonly affecting the inner folds of the joints such as the arms or the back of the knees

Itching in the backside of the arms, or the face in children

Family history of atopy: Hayfever, asthma, allergic rhinitis or eczema

What can I do about eczema?

  • Understand the triggers that aggravate your skin condition. Eczema is a very common condition, and there are plenty of websites dedicated to educating and supporting people with this skin condition.
  • Have a patch test conducted by your dermatologist. Allergic contact dermatitis is often confused with eczema. Common allergens include metals, fragrances, latex rubber, and formaldehyde. In this case, the sources of the allergens must be removed.
  • Avoid known skin irritants such as harsh soap, shampoos, excessive heat or cold, or wool.
  • Avoid excessive washing and drying, and minimize sweat inducing activities.
  • Avoid rubbing or scratching the irritated skin as it can damage the skin further, leading to more pronounced side-effects.
  • Food allergies can, at times, worsen your eczema. Common allergens include milk, eggs, soy, wheat, nuts, and shellfish.
  • Dryness of the skin contributes to itchiness and cracking of the skin, and needs to be managed with moisturizers, non-soap cleansers, or prescription creams. Visit mildcleanser.ca for more information on gentle cleansing products.

What kind of treatment options are there?

  • Topical corticosteroids are commonly used to control inflammation and itch of the affected area.
  • Phototherapy or PUVA can be used as alternative treatments to steroids.
  • Leukotriene inhibitors can have some effect in controlling eczema.
  • Topical immunomodulators such as pimecrolimus creams are new treatment solutions for eczema.
  • Topical or oral antibiotics help eliminate secondary bacterial infection for moderate or severe cases of eczema.
  • For extremely severe cases of eczema, systemic corticosteroids are extremely effective in symptom control, but may have side-effects and should be used only for severe cases, and only for short bouts.

Contact your dermatologist to find an effective solution for your skin condition.

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