Eczema

eczema in babies

Last Updated December 20th, 2021

Overview of eczema

Environmental pollution has detrimental effects on different parts of the human body, especially the skin. Skin is the most sensitive part of the body that gets easily damaged due to seasonal changes, climatic variations and physiological reactions within the body. These factors can collectively give rise to serious skin disorders. One of the potential threats to healthy skin is “Eczema”, which affects millions of people all over the world. Incidences of skin diseases are more prevalent in underdeveloped countries having poor hygienic conditions. This has driven the health units in all countries to spread mass awareness related to healthy lifestyle in order to address the problem and curb the occurrence of epidemic outbreaks.

 

What is eczema?

eczema in babiesEczema is a severe form of skin disorder in which the skin surface becomes rough and inflamed with the formation of reddish, fluid filled and itchy blisters which cause a lot of pain on scratching or rubbing.

Even after complete recovery, the blisters may leave permanent painful scars on the body.

This disease is not only limited to the adult population, but is also affecting children and infants at present.

Recent research findings (by World Health Organization) show that nearly 80-90% cases of Eczema are diagnosed by the age of 5. It is one of the most severe forms of skin diseases that might lead to skin cancer or carcinoma ,if  left undiagnosed.

 

What causes eczema?

A number of etiological factors are responsible for eczema in both children and adults. These are elaborated below-

  • Extremely dry skin with occasional white flakes (dead cells)
  • Loss of immune capacity of skin
  • Bacterial infection (mainly by Staphylococcus species)
  • Blockage of sweat glands and ducts due to accumulation of excess waste (dead cells and dirt) on the skin pores.
  • Prolonged unprotected exposure to harmful radiations (U.V rays of sun or radiations used during chemotherapy)
  • Exposure to toxic chemicals present in the environment (Eg: Lead, mercury)
  • Allergic response to certain irritants such as pollen grains, animal danders
  • Release of toxic chemicals (cytokines, histamine) in the bloodstream due to some existing diseases
  • Certain medications such as diuretics (for high blood pressure) or corticosteroids
  • Mental or physical stress
  • Exposure to frequent change of temperature or climatic conditions (from hot to cold climate)
  • Hormonal imbalance during puberty, pregnancy or menopause (drop in oestrogen level)
  • Use of greasy cosmetics or ointments
  • Diet deficient in essential vitamins (Vitamin C, D) and iron
  • Frequent use of hard soaps
  • Existing skin disorders
  • Excessive consumption of alcohol and tobacco
  • Bathing regularly with very hot water
  • Sharing items used by a skin disease patient (towels, bed sheets)

 

What are the main warning signs and symptoms?

Eczema manifests itself through some prominent symptoms which should be addressed immediately to facilitate timely diagnosis and treatment. The eruptions are spread all over the neck, elbows, behind ears, palm and sole of feet. The main symptoms of Eczema are as follows-

  • Reddish patches over large areas of the skin
  • Reddish or brownish elevated, crusty papules
  • Constant itching of the skin (pruritis)
  • Fluid-filled blisters or vesicles which release pus on pricking
  • Dry whitish flakes (dead cells) which worsen on scratching
  • Acute inflammation of the skin in the infected areas.
  • Leathery texture of the skin in advanced stages
  • Extreme tenderness and touch sensitivity of the skin
  • Appearance of cracks and fissures on the skin surface
  • Burning sensation of the skin, especially when touched

What are the different types of eczema?

Based on etiological factors, eczema can be classified into two broad categories –

Idiopathic: In this case, the specific cause of Eczema cannot be determined. Hence this type of Eczema will be categorized into 3 subtypes depending on the degree of infection. These are-

Acute: It is usually benign in nature and can be accompanied by edema (excess fluid in tissues), erythema (dilatation of blood vessels) and vesicles (tiny fluid-filled blisters).

 

Subacute: In this case oedema and erythema are observed. It is also accompanied by Acanthosis (thick and rough skin texture) and Parakeratosis.

Chronic: It occurs when acute Eczema persists for more than one week and is characterized by lichen (big lesions) formation.

Eczema with an identified cause

This type of eczema can be identified by the exact pathogenesis and are of the following subtypes-

Contact: It is caused due to contact with specific allergens and appears as giant reddish patches and lesions.

Atopic: It is characterized by severe skin inflammation, scale formation and secretion of fluid from blisters.

Seborrheic: Yellowish greasy patches appear on the skin in this condition.

Nummular: Large, round and crusty spots are visible on the skin which causes intense itching.

Dishydrotic: It causes irritation of the skin of palms and soles of feet which bear itchy and burning blisters.

 

Genetics of Eczema

Studies by research groups on dermatology and skin diseases show that a person having a family history of skin diseases is 3 times more likely to develop skin ailments in his lifetime.

For example, Ichthyosis is a skin disorder similar to eczema, characterized by thickened and leathery skin which occurs when a person has a family history of skin diseases.

 

Diagnosis

In case of any kind of skin disease, diagnosis is performed by either a dermatologist or an allergist. Different skin tests are performed among which the most important is the RAST (Radioallergosorbent test).

 

Treatment & Prevention

There is no definite cure for eczema.  But there are certain measures which can help in diminishing symptoms and controlling flare ups. Topical corticosteroids, in the form of ointments and lotions, can help reduce itchiness and inflammation of the skin.  If there is a bacterial outbreak along the breaks in the skin, antibiotics can help treat the secondary infections. Additionally anti-fungal creams might also be helpful. If the itching is too much and is causing troubled sleep, antihistamines can be prescribed that will not only reduce the itching sensation, but will also help in getting better sleep.

One should avoid environmental irritants such as scented soaps and bubble baths, wool, nylon, sand, grass etc to prevent inflammation of the dry skin. Common indoor allergens such as dust and dust mites, pollens, animal hair and dander, foods that might cause allergies (Shellfish or nuts) can also cause eczema. This skin condition worsens with heat, so it is important to refrain from hot baths, electric blankets, or in general hot climate. Use unscented soaps and moisturizers to prevent dryness and itching. In severe cases of eczema, immunosuppressant medications might be prescribed.  Refrain from self-medication.

Low FODMAP diet for eczema

Consumption of short-chained carbohydrates and sugar alcohols found in a wide range of foods are called FODMAPs. Here the foods in high FODMAP, if consumed in a large quantity get fermented by the gut bacteria repeatedly and cause problems such as gas, bloating, pain, diarrhea, and constipation.

FODMAPs can be broken down into

F – Fermentable.

O – Oligosaccharides. These include fructans and galactic.

D – Disaccharides. These include lactose.

M – Monosaccharides. These include fructose.

A – and

P – Polysaccharides. These include sorbitol, xylitol, and mannitol.

Dairy products such as cream cheese, buttermilk, cream, cow’s milk etc, nuts such as cashews, and sweeteners such as cakes, cookies, pastries etc. may increase the symptoms of eczema. Foods such as fish, broccoli, kale, spinach, eggs etc. can help in reducing the symptoms of eczema.Following a low FODMAP diet, can help in reducing inflammation, promote gut health, and make the immune system strong, thereby managing the symptoms of eczema.

Despite arduous research works done on skin diseases till date, there is no complete cure for Eczema, although partial healing can be ascertained. Incidences of Eczema have increased by 3 times since the 1960s (source: Academic Unit of Dermatology Research, University of Sheffield). Nearly 85% of children develop Eczema before the age of 5 years. This is severely affecting the socio-economic backbone of all nations and should be addressed immediately.

 

 

Dos and Don'ts

Dos
  • To get relief from intense itching use non-medicated petroleum jelly on the affected area.
  • Make sure that your skin doesn’t get dry. Use moisturizers and drink plenty of water.
  • Instead of usual bath soaps and body washes, use unscented soaps which tend not to irritate the skin.
Don'ts
  • Scratch the skin with pointed things like nails, these may lead to cuts and abrasions and invite secondary infections.
  • Processed foods such as refined flour, sugar, fried items, and junk.
  • Scrub or exfoliate the affected skin area.

 

 

 

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Bubble Tea: Bubbling with nutrition or a hidden sugar mine? The tapioca pearls present in the tea looks like bubbles and hence the name bubble tea became popular.…
Barium-enema
Barium Enema Barium enema is also known as colon x-ray. Here, the patient is asked to consume small amount of…
Garlic health benefits cloves
Garlic: Nature’s white pill as an effective home remedy What are the secrets hidden in these tiny white pills? Find out the immense health benefits of using…
hYdroxycut pills
Hydroxycut: How safe are these so-called weight loss supplements? Hydroxycut is a blend of several different ingredients formulated to promote weight loss; powered by a key weight…
L-theanine attention
L-Theanine: Better sleep, higher focus, and many other benefits Did you know that L-theanine found in green tea can make you sleep better and be focused at…
How seitan proved to be a blessing in disguise for vegans worldwide Can only meat-eaters enjoy delicious juicy steaks and burgers? With seitan, the best meat substitute available today,even vegans…
blood ketone test
Blood Ketone (D3HB) Test The Blood Ketone Test measures and monitors the levels of ketone in the blood which is usually performed…
11 unbelievable health benefits of thyme you didn’t know! Thyme is a herb that has been used in alternative medicine.It is a well known seasoning in the…
amylase test
Amylase Test Amylase test is done by checking the level of this protein in the blood sample and also in…
sodium chloride
Halotherapy: How inhaling salt can work wonders for your body Halotherapy is quickly gaining popularity amongst those with respiratory diseases. It has shown promise in its treatment.
CT-scan-machine
CT – Computed Tomography Scan CT scan or computed tomography scan is an diagnostic imaging technique where cross-sectional images of body are obtained…
kidney stones
Kidney stones Kidney stones are solid substances made up of crystals. They can be of various sizes. Treatment depend on…
Trisodium Phosphate: How a paint thinner made its way into your breakfast Ever thought how toxic chemicals find their way into our foods? How can they harm our body? And…
ureteroscopy
Ureteroscopy Ureteroscopy is the diagnostic procedure which is used for the detection of the kidney stones in addition to…
Rubella IgM test
Rubella IgM Test The Rubella IgM test is a blood test that is performed to diagnose the presence of the rubella…
lp-pla2
LP-PLA2 Test The LP-PLA2 test is a test which is carried out to assess the levels of Lipoprotein-Associated Phospholipase A2…
shiitake mushrooms healthy
What are Shiitake Mushrooms and why should you eat them? Shiitake Mushrooms are well known for their smoky and robust taste. However, did you know they are replete…
beta hcg test
Beta hCG Test A Beta hCG test measures the level of human gonadotropin hormones present in the blood that is primarliy…
Tart Cherry: The healthiest excuse for taking that second serving of pie Tart cherry has been traditionally used in delectable desserts such as pies. Recent studies have revealed that its…
yoga health benefits
How to practice yoga for astounding health benefits Can a 5000-year-old system be the ultimate body healer? Did you know yoga can make you smarter and…
Vitamin b12
Vitamin B12 Test Vitamin b12 is an essential nutrient required for healthy functioning of the nervous system and also development of…
Chlorella: Therapeutic powers of the billion-year-old algae now within your reach Chlorella - A billion year old nutrient-rich algae that can potentially ward off cancers and high cholesterol; the…
Chest X-Ray A chest x-ray is a diagnostic test that uses x-rays to visualize the structures inside your chest. It…
blood elements analysis
Vitamin Profile Your doctor will recommend you undergo the vitamin profile test if you are showing signs of either vitamin…
woman with abdominal pain holding ovulation calendar
Ovulation – facts to know about ovulation Learn how and when ovulation occurs, demystify common misconceptions, identify symptoms, methods of detection and right period for…
beta 2 glycoprotein 1 igm
Beta 2 Glycoprotein 1 IgM The Beta 2 glycoprotein 1 IgM test detects IgM class of antibodies in the blood.The presence of beta-2…
beta alanine energy powder
Beta-alanine: A powerhouse of proteins to charge up your workout How can a simple amino acid be a crucial health supplement for champion athletes? Find out how you…
apolipoprotein a1 test
Apolipoprotein -A1 (APO-A1) Test Apolipoprotein A-I (Apo-A1) constitutes 70% of protein content in high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and helps in lipid metabolism.
Low fat diets
A complete list of low-fat diets and how to follow them Low-fat diets help you lose weight in a healthy way, but it works only with regular exercise and…
anti-chlamydia antibody tets
Anti-Chlamydia Antibody -IgG Test Anti-Chlamydia Antibody - IgG test is performed by collection of urine or genital fluids as sample for testing…
Find all the instant ways to get rid of blackheads Blackheads - Not only are they aesthetically unappealing but if left untreated these can cause bacterial overgrowth on…
GM Diet: The fastest way to lose weight or yet another hoax diet? General Motors started this trend of extreme dieting for 7 straight days to ensure its employees were able…
vital organ diseases
Common diseases that could cripple your vital organs Brain, heart, kidney, lungs, and liver - these vital organs are indeed vital for your survival. However, these…
antiHEV IgM test
Anti hepatitis E virus (Anti HEV) IgM Test Anti HEV IgM test determines the level of the IgM antibodies in the blood, The disease is often…
Creatine: Is this the right peak athletic-performance supplement for you? Creatine is the amino acid that boosts our energy. Did you know creatine supplements can help you reach…
Bloodtestalbumin
Albumin Test Albumin test or blood serum test is a liver function test that measures the amount of the protein…
GERD heartburn
Heartburn: What are the exact symptoms and the best home remedies? There are easy home remedies for heartburn, which not only acts as a first aid when you experience…
Balneotherapy jacuzzi
5 things you didn’t know about balneotherapy and how you can do it at home Sauna baths have been popular since a long time. But how much more beneficial can balneotherapy be as…
eating disorder anorexia
Eating Disorders: Lifestyle choice or a psychological condition? Is eating disorder just a harmless bad habit? Or does it represent grim psychological disorders? Do you want…
hidden causes obesity
8 hidden causes of obesity you probably didn’t know! Did you know that around 2 billion people worldwide are either overweight or obese? Are you too a…
social media adddiction
Your health in the age of Social Media: Why is digital detox a necessity? Did you know that more than 400 million people are dangerously addicted to social media? Are you one…
hepatitis B envelope antigen
Hepatitis B Envelope Antigen (HBeAg) The HBeAg or hepatitis B envelope antigen test is a screening test used to diagnose the onset of…
myelogram
Myelography Myelography is an important diagnostic tool that is used to investigate and identify abnormalities in the spine and…
tonometry
Tonometry Tonometry uses a device called tonometer to measure the pressure inside the eye. This pressure is depends upon…
shakeology woman
Meal replacement or protein drink? Learn all about Shakeology and its claims Shakeology from Beachbody claims to be the most suitable shake that can aid in weight loss, regulate blood…

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