Defining Eczema and Its Triggers
Eczema (atopic dermatitis) is a red, itchy skin rash that appears anywhere on the body but is most often found on the face or wrists, behind the knees or ears, and at the bends of the elbow. Over 30 million Americans have some form of eczema, and the rash is often associated with asthma, hay fever, or food allergies. However, eczema can also be triggered by:
- Indoor or outdoor allergens
- Skin irritants
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Langford Allergy diagnoses and treats patients of all ages. Although there is no cure for eczema, over-the-counter or prescription ointments and medications can be used to manage the rash. A few treatment options include:
- Prescription-strength steroid cream
- Oral antihistamines
- Oral corticosteroids
- Oral immunosuppressants
- Prescription-strength moisturizers
Our expert allergists will advise you on how frequent you should apply the ointment. The rash is spread through scratching and spreading the oils on the skin, so no matter what, remember not to scratch!
Do I Have Eczema?
Eczema affects everyone slightly differently, and no two cases are exactly alike. However, the most common symptoms are:
- Dry, sensitive skin
- Oozing or crusting
- Recurring rash
- Red, inflamed skin
- Rough patches
- Scaly patches
What Triggers Eczema?
Although eczema resembles and is treated as an allergy, the underlying cause is unclear. However, if a direct family member has it, it’s possible to inherit the condition. We may not fully understand the causes, but we do know that certain factors can trigger a flare-up:
- Certain viruses or bacteria
- Cigarette smoke
- Contact with juices from fruit, meat, or vegetables
- Food allergies
- Indoor allergens such as dust mites, pets, and mold
- Soaps or cleaners with irritants such as perfumes or disinfectants