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Atopic Eczema

Atopic Eczema is difficult to live with because of the irritation and pain that is involved. But, the more information one has on the subject of Atopic Eczema, the better he is able to understand what triggers Atopic Eczema outbreaks, and thus avoid it from occurring.

The term ‘atopic’ refers to a personal and family tendency to develop eczema, asthma and/or hay fever. While these conditions tend to be hereditary they are not always passed directly from parent to child and may skip a generation. Atopic eczema is the most common form of eczema in children, although it can affect adults too. Eczema will begin in the first year of life in about 60% of children and within the first five years in 85%.

 

Most children grow out of atopic eczema as they get older, but it is not possible to say at exactly what age the problem will go away. It isn’t possible to tell whether your child will or will not out grow their eczema, although generally speaking those who have the more severe eczema are less likely to grow out of it. However, even children who ‘out grow’ eczema can continue to have ‘sensitive’ skin as adults.

Atopic eczema can flare up and then calm down for a time, but the skin tends to be dry and itchy even in-between flare ups. It often affects the creases of body joints, such as the backs of the knees or inside the elbows, but in black skins the eczema often affects the front of the knees and elbows. Atopic Eczema can occur in small patches or all over the body.

Spontaneous flare-ups are often the result of triggers. Triggers are not the same for everyone, but there are a number of common ones:

  • Soap and detergents
  • Skin Infection
  • House-dust mites and their droppings
  • Animal dander (fur, hair) and saliva
  • Pollens
  • Overheating
  • Rough clothing

Many people with atopic eczema find that there is a connection between eczema and stress although whether the stress causes the eczema or vice versa is less clear.

Atopic eczema can flare up and then calm down for a time, but the skin tends to be dry and itchy even in-between flare ups. It often affects the creases of body joints, such as the backs of the knees or inside the elbows, but in black skins the eczema often affects the front of the knees and elbows. Atopic Eczema can occur in small patches or all over the body.

Learning what your triggers are can help you to take control of your eczema however it may not always be immediately apparent what has provoked a flare-up.

The chief characteristic of atopic eczema is the ‘itch’ which at times can become almost unbearable leading to sleep loss, frustration, stress and depression. It is crucial to acknowledge that this can affect the whole family, not just the person with eczema. Although there is currently no known cure for atopic eczema, when well managed it is possible to limit its impact on day to day life.

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