Eczema (atopic dermatitis)
Eczema is a condition that makes your skin red and itchy. It’s common in children but can occur at any age. Eczema is associated with allergies, and it may be accompanied by asthma or hay fever.
Other signs and symptoms include patches of thickened, cracked and scaly skin, and small, raised bumps that may leak fluid and crust over. In some people, eczema flares periodically and then clear up for a time, even for several years.
Medications used to treat eczema include:
- Creams that control itching and inflammation. Corticosteroid cream or ointment may be used for a limited time.
- Drugs to fight infection. Antibiotics treat and prevent bacterial skin infection from an open sore or caused by scratching.
- Drugs to control severe inflammation. Oral corticosteroids such as prednisone or an injected corticosteroid may be used.
Other treatments include:
- Wet dressings. Wrapping the affected area with topical corticosteroids and wet bandages is effective for severe eczema. This is labor-intensive and requires medical expertise, but you can learn to apply wet dressings at home.
- Light therapy. Phototherapy involves exposing your skin to controlled amounts of natural sunlight. Other forms use artificial ultraviolet (UV) A and narrowband UVB alone or with medications. Though effective, long-term light therapy has harmful effects, including an increased risk of skin cancer.
Other measures that may help include adding oatmeal or baking soda to bathwater, moisturizing the skin at least twice a day, and using a humidifier to moisturize dry indoor air. Among infants, treatment generally includes avoiding skin irritations and lubricating baby’s skin with bath oils, lotions, creams, or ointments.
Excerpt From: The Mayo Clinic. “Mayo Clinic A to Z Health Guide”.