What is Eczema?

Eczema is a condition that results in a red, itchy rash that often appears on the hands, wrists, feet, ankles, neck, chest, eyelids, face, scalp, or insides of the elbows or knees. It may appear with other conditions such as asthma or hay fever. Other symptoms of eczema include:

  • Itching that’s worse at night
  • Dry skin
  • Red patches
  • Small, raised bumps
  • Thickened, scaling skin
  • Sensitive or swollen skin

Causes and Complications

While the exact cause of eczema is unknown, it is thought to be related to a gene variation that affects the skin’s ability to provide protection and retain moisture. Eczema is also thought to be linked to an overreaction by the body’s immune system. The skin is then more sensitive to irritants and allergens, resulting in a reaction with a rash. A personal or family history of eczema or asthma puts you at a risk for eczema. A flare-up often occurs due to contact with a certain irritating substance, material, allergen, or infection.

Because the skin has less protection from bacteria and irritants, some complications associated with eczema can occur. For example, many children with eczema will also develop asthma or hay fever by a young age. Those with eczema who are constantly scratching and breaking the skin can introduce bacteria into the body, leading to a skin infection. Because many individuals experience worsening symptoms at night, their sleep can be affected as well.

Treatment Options

While there is no cure for eczema, the symptoms can be managed in order to avoid complications. Itching can be relieved by keeping the skin moisturized with lotion or cream and a cold compress might be used to reduce inflammation. An over-the-counter cream can also be helpful in reducing inflammation and an antihistamine can help with severe itching. If eczema does not respond to these remedies, medication to alter the immune system might be prescribed.

If you experience an eczema flare-up that won’t go away, contact Springfield Urgent Care. We can provide you with an exam to ensure that your rash is from eczema or if another condition is to blame. We can also recommend treatment options and tips to manage symptoms.

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