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What is Eczema

Do you have dry, itchy or scaly skin? Then you may be suffering from eczema, pronounced EK-zeh-ma. Eczema is a group of skin conditions that can cause your skin to be itchy, red, dry, scaly or inflamed. If you have exogenous eczema, you have most likely come in contact with a chemical or substance that has inflamed your skin. If you have atopic eczema (endogenous eczema), then it may be inherited or caused by an environmental or food allergy.

Atopic eczema is the most common form of eczema. It can be caused by food allergies or allergies to pet dander, rough fabrics, dust, pollen or mold. Some people who have eczema may have asthma or hay fever as well. Some inexpensive costume jewelry will cause irritation in sensitive areas such as on the earlobes, neck or wrists.

Contact eczema, or exogenous eczema, is caused by something that has touched your skin and irritated it. Some sufferers receive it from chemicals they are exposed to on the job, such as beauticians or lab workers. If you are one of these, be sure to wear gloves to protect your hands from exposure to these chemicals. If you normally don’t suffer from eczema and experience a breakout, immediately stop any new soaps, shampoos or other products you have come in contact with. You may also be reacting to a new blanket, couch or carpet.

There are many triggers for atopic eczema. If you have food allergies or environmental allergies, avoid these completely. Be sure to see your doctor, who will be able to help you manage your allergies. Stress can also trigger eczema, so do everything you can to remain calm, including allowing yourself daily breaks from your normal routine. Exercise will also help you to remain relaxed, healthy and stress-free.

Hospitalization is sometimes necessary for the most severe cases of eczema. During the hospital stay, the affected skin will be wrapped in bandages that have been soaked with a diluted potassium permanganate solution.

If you suffer from eczema, be sure to avoid exposure to water for long periods of time. Water will dry out your skin and make your eczema worse. Cotton clothes are a better choice than rougher fabrics, which will irritate your skin. Be sure to moisturize your skin with hypoallergenic lotion or petroleum jelly. If you are itching, do everything you can not to scratch, which will make matters worse. Finally, try to keep your body at a normal temperature, avoiding sudden changes in temperature. And always use any medications your doctor has prescribed.

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