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National Eczema Week

National Eczema Week

It's National Eczema Week and we're here to make sure you're aware of the different types of eczema, signs and symptoms, causes and also what you can do to manage the skin condition.

What is Eczema?
Eczema is a medical condition which affects patches of the skin and causes the skin to become rough and inflamed with blisters. This, in turn, creates an itching sensation that when scratched too much, can bleed. There are 4 different types of eczema:

Atopic Eczema
This is the most common form of eczema which often first appears in children before their first birthday however, it can appear in adults as well.

The symptoms of atopic eczema are causing the skin to become itchy, dry, red, sore or cracked which can appear in small patches of skin or it can be widespread across the body.

Discoid Eczema
Discoid eczema, which is also known as nummular or discoid dermatitis, is a skin condition that creates oval or circular patches of dry, red, itchy or swollen skin.

If you're showing symptoms of discoid eczema then you should get it treated as soon as possible. If left untreated the skin can become infected, which has the following signs:

  • feeling unwell/sick
  • chills
  • a yellow crust developing over the patches
  • the patches oozing a lot of fluid
  • the skin around the patches becoming red, hot, swollen, tender or painful

Pompholyx (Dyshidrotic Eczema)
This type of eczema can cause blisters on your fingers, palms of your hands and soles of your feet and is most common in people under 40 years old.

Symptoms of pompholyx are severe itching and burning of the skin, which then turns into blisters that weep fluid. Blisters can easily become infected so be sure to keep an eye on them. Signs of infection include blisters that become really painful, ooze pus or create a golden crust.

Varicose Eczema
Varicose eczema is a long-term skin condition that often occurs on the lower legs, and is common with people who have varicose veins.

The symptoms of varicose eczema are the same as any eczema (itchy, red, dry, swollen) but can also show signs of a few other symptoms:

  • pain
  • brown discolouration of the skin
  • eczema affecting other parts of the body
  • small, white scars (atrophie blanche)
  • red, tender and tight skin that can eventually become hardened (lipodermatosclerosis)

How do you manage eczema?
We've researched ways on how to manage eczema and have found 7 useful tips from the Eczema website:

  1. Keep your home cool to ease itching – around 18°C is ideal.
  2. Go fragrance-free. Anything with a strong scent, from soap to air freshener, may be irritating to your skin.
  3. Mind the gap! Leave at least 10 minutes – or ideally longer – between applying an emollient and a topical steroid. This stops the steroid spreading to areas of skin unaffected by eczema or being diluted. It doesn’t matter which is applied first.
  4. Pinch itchy skin rather than scratching it, to avoid damaging the skin’s barrier.
  5. Use your emollients at least twice a day to prevent dryness, and at other times whenever your skin feels dry and itchy.
  6. Go back to basics on skincare. Check with a healthcare professional for advice to make sure you’re applying your creams properly and managing your eczema triggers as best you can.
  7. Don’t cut foods out of your diet without medical advice unless you or your child have been diagnosed with a food allergy. If you cut foods without support, you/they may miss out on important nutrients.

If you or anyone you know is suffering from any of the above symptoms, contact your doctor or for more advice on what to do or how to manage your eczema, call the National Eczema Society Helpline on 0800 089 1122 or email them on helpline@eczema.org.

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