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Eczema treatment

Eczema is a superficial skin inflammation with the following symptoms: blisters, redness, peeling skin, scab formation, draining, itching.

Triggering conditions

Eczema is a common name for itchy inflammatory skin conditions, which are generally triggered by the direct contact of a substance (contact eczema). Internal conditions may also trigger eczema, because the same chemical agent doesn’t irritate everyone - it depends on the patient’s organism, mental conditions whether the eczema (susceptibility) develops or not. Exposure to permanent stress decreases the body’s resistance capacity. A substance may either directly by contact or by allergic hypersensitivity response damage or irritate the skin.
Eczema is one of the most common skin conditions, about ten percent of the world’s population suffer from some kind of eczema. Its prevalence may amount to 15% in some occupations (hairdresser, building and machine industry, cleaning). Some substances may trigger skin inflammation either by irritation or by allergic response; this hypersensitivity develops generally after repeated exposures. The triggering substances develop the allergic hypersensitivity of the skin after repeated exposures. At the first exposure the immune system attacks the substance and this makes the organism sensitive. The immune attack immediately starts if the organism is exposed again to the given substance. First allergic symptoms appear in 10-14 days. For example, a new beauty product doesn’t trigger symptoms at the first use, only after some days. Has the allergy already been developed the organism remembers for years (or never forgets). If the skin is exposed to the harmful substance during long time, a chronic condition will develop. The eczema is a common occupational hazard, due to certain chemicals or minor skin lesions.


Triggering substances

Allergens are generally commonly used everyday materials. Nickel and chrome of the blue jeans rivet buttons, jewels, bijous, metal watch straps, buckles of leather watch straps and leather belts; synthetic fibres’ as nylon may trigger allergy. Medicines, as antibiotics or local anaesthetics; chemicals, glues, cement; cosmetics, as face, hand, body creams, shampoos, hair dyes, nail enamel, powder, lipstick, toothpaste may also trigger allergic response. Some substances (sunscreen products, after shaves, perfumes, tar, oil, antibiotics) may cause photo allergic contact eczema, if the skin is exposed to sunshine after contact of the said substances.

Chronic hand and foot eczema may be caused by many other inflammatory skin diseases, irritating and affecting the hand and foot. The recurring irritation may develop the contact eczema into chronic.

Chronic hand eczema is caused by regular physical wear and chemicals, chronic foot eczema may develop in the clammy warmth of shoes, socks. Chronic eczema may cause itching, lesions on the hand and foot.

Dishidrosis is a chronic condition; itchy blisters appear on the palms, fingers, soles. Blisters are often peeling, red, draining. Dishidrosis means “bad sweating” but this condition has nothing to do with sweating.

Fungal infections often cause rashes, mainly red rashes and small blisters on the feet. Due to the allergic reaction triggered by fungi, chronic fungal infection of the feet may sometimes result eczema on the hands.


Therapy
 

There are different options of the eczema therapy in the flare up and in the maintenance period. Locally administered strong/medium steroids according to the severity and extent of the symptoms, combined systematic antihistamine and the so called basic therapy, i.e. after bathing moisturizing the skin with appropriate lipid creams - may be efficient in acute cases. Steroid sparing calcineurin inhibitors, which can be applied anogenitally and periorally from the early ages, are efficient in both (flare up, maintenance) phases of the atopic dermatitis. Burning is a common side effect of this medicine; its long term administering increases the risk of nonmelenoma skin tumours. In severe cases (ulcers, great extent, high SCORAD) short term administering of systematic steroids, heliotherapy- N BUVB, UVA1 - are applied, as last option.

Life style recommendations based on the result of allergology examinations and general considerations may eliminate the worsening effects of environmental factors. The increasing number of atopic children and they parents are supported in the everyday life by the so called “atopy school” nation wide civil organization and patient network.