Allergic Skin Disease
Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a chronic life-long skin condition characterized by itching and rash. The areas of the body involved often change with time; most often the face, inside of the elbows, and behind the knees are involved. With eczema the skin is dry and often cracks and oozes during flare-ups. "Flare-ups" are caused by an over reaction of the skin's immune system to environmental and emotional "triggers". These triggers can include irritants (such as chemicals), allergens (such as food, dust, or mold) and stress.
For those with eczema, it is very helpful to identify and avoid exposure to such triggers. Because there are so many potential triggers, allergy skin testing is critical to help in determining a successful treatment plan. Early recognition and treatment of eczema symptoms will often prevent more serious flare-ups. If you have these symptoms please contact us at (920) 435-6601 and we would be happy to schedule an appointment for an evaluation.
Avoid triggers of itching:
- Heat and perspiration
- Emotional Stress
- Flushing foods such as hot and spicy foods, hot drinks like coffe tea and hot chocolate, and soy and vinegar
- Antihistamines reduce itching. The newer non-sedating products such as Allegra, Clarinex, Claritin, Zyrtec and Xyzal can be used daytime and night time.
- Avoid daytime use of the older sedating antihistamines such as Benadryl, chlorpheniramine, hydroxyzine and others, especially if operating heavy machinery or motor vehicles. Also consider if your child is in school they need to be alert to learn.
Keep the skin moist. We recomend a daily bath lasting at least 20 minutes, followed by an application of a lubricant (soak and seal).
- Use lukewarm water, not hot, in the bath. Use a gentle soap with moisturizers added such as Dove, Basis, Neutrogena or Tone. Soaps should be non-scented. Don't use bubble baths or deodorant soap.
- Baths are more effective than showers.
- Dry areas on the face, head, and neck may require compresses to moisten the skin. Avoid washcloths, rubbing and scrubbing.
- Immediately after a bath, pat dry, don't rub, and apply any prescribed medicated creams and ointments. Then apply something oily such as baby oil, mineral oil or vaseline to seal the water in the skin.
- Apply a lubricant such as Eucerin aquaphor or Vani cream or over the counter medicated creams to the skin twice daily or as often as needed to keep the skin soft. Vaseline works better than other lubricants and especially if applied at night. Warm the Vaseline 10-15 seconds in the microwave before applying. Be sure to moisten the skin before applying Vaseline.
- During cooler weather when your furnace is on, run a cool mist vaporizer or humidifier so that the air remains moist in your house.
Use medicated creams properly:
- Apply only 1% hydrocortisone, Elidel or Protopic cream to the face. More potent steroid creams can cause thinning and damage the facial skin.
- Always apply medicated creams before lubricating creams.
- Do not refill prescription creams without having an office visit every 6-12 months.
Watch for infection:
- Observe for increased crusting and oozing of the skin, you may need an antibiotic to control infection.Notify the office if eczema flares for no apparent reason.
- Diluted bleach baths 1-2 times a day maybe recomended. Using 1/4 cup bleach to 2-4 inches of warm water may help reduce a skin infection.
- Watch for early signs of eczema flare-ups such as itchy, dry skin. When this happens, pay close attention to the use of lubricants and early use of topical hydrocortisone, Elidel or Protopic.
If you would like to schedule an appointment for an evaluation please contact us at (920) 435-6601. If you would like further information regarding eczema go to www.nationaleczema.org.