Eczema is a condition of the skin that presents as reddened, dry scaly skin. Occasionally, small bumps or blisters occur. Eczema is not infectious but may become infected. It is an extremely itchy condition causing the sufferer great discomfort.
Eczema is really an allergy, meaning that there are things that do not agree with the body, and the body’s immune system fights them by releasing a substance called histamine. Histamine is responsible for the earliest and most important sign of eczema – the itch!
1. WHAT IS A MAINTENANCE PROGRAMME.?
Your self-help programme should include the following
Get moisture regularly, using an unscented moisturiser. Remember, you cannot over moisturise your skin.
2. MEDICAL HELP
Corticosteroids – oral or applied may help reduce inflammation and itching
Antibiotics – oral or applied
Secondary infections are common and should be treated quickly
Antihistamines – oral or applied
A skin prick or blood test performed by a medical practitioner can confirm allergies (e.g. House dust mite, certain grasses, tree pollens, etc.)
Consult a dietitian for assistance and guidance regarding a suitable diet.
Eczema itself is not infectious. No one can catch it from you. But, as eczema skin often dries, cracks and breaks, it puts the sufferer at a greater risk of contracting skin infections. Medical advice should be sought at the first sign of any infection.
This article was provided in the public interest by Dr. Ayoob Bux, Chairman of Hibiscus Private Hospital and Chairman of the IPA Independent Practitioners Association. It is presented for your general information and is not a substitute for seeing your own doctor.