Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Common Pediatric Dermatology Conditions Series: Week 2- Eczema

  Eczema is a condition in which the skin becomes inflames, irritated, and normal barrier protection function to the outside world is impaired.  This disruption to the skin barrier can cause it to become dry, cracked, itchy, red, and in some cases blister. Eczema can occur anywhere on the body, including the hands and feet.  Eczema can be due to genetics and/or allergies, and can often flare from environmental or weather changes.  When the skin starts to become irritated and inflamed, the areas can become very itchy. This itching and scratching can cause introduce infection to the skin that often need treatment with antibiotics. Signs of infection include, oozing or skin that doesn’t heal.

   Eczema is a treatable condition but is not curable.  Some people can grow out of eczema, while others will continue to have episodic break-outs.  It is important to seek treatment for eczema if it is not controlled with over the counter topical moisturizers and lifestyle changes. Eczema if left untreated can interrupt sleep, cause behavior problems, and possibly can become painful, or infected. When seeing the doctor or Physician assistant the treatment goal is to help heal the damaged skin and alleviate symptoms.  Some of these treatments include topical or oral steroids to help calm down inflammation of the skin, barrier restoration, topical immunomodualtors, antibiotics if the area is infected, and UV light therapy if appropriate.  Other steps to help control eczema at home include wearing soft and loose fitting clothes, using bland non fragrance soap and moisturizer, controlling itching with oral antihistamines, not scratching, avoiding known triggers, and washing clothes and linens in a gentle laundry detergent for sensitive skin. If no clear pattern is seen, allergy testing can help to determine what may cause flares.

Blog written by guest blogger: Abby Leboza PA Student from Nova Southeastern 

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