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Over a million Australians have eczema and of these just over 20
percent are children. Nearly two-thirds of all eczema sufferers are
diagnosed between birth and 1 year of age, with over half of adult
sufferers describing their condition as chronic and moderately
impacting their daily life.

What Is Eczema?

Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is
a common skin condition that presents as a red, dry, itchy, sensitive, and inflamed rash. It most commonly appears on the face, hands, neck, inner elbows, back of the knees, but can appear on any part of the body. Although not a life-threatening disease, it can be difficult to control if symptoms are not regularly and routinely maintained.

What Causes Eczema?

We are not exactly sure what causes eczema. It often occurs in people with a family history but can also be triggered by some foods, alcohol, and stress. Many sufferers also have other allergic conditions, including asthma and hay fever.

There are many known factors that can cause eczema symptoms to are-up or worsen.

These differ from person to person and can include:

• Dry skin
• Scratching or rubbing the affected area
• Stress
• Allergens, such as pollens that you breathe in
• Dairy foods, wheat, nuts, eggs, and seafood
• Artificial colours, preservatives, and food additives
• Weather changes (hot to cold, humid to dry)
• Skin infections
• Contact with chemicals such as soaps, perfumes, and chlorine in

There is no cure for eczema, but symptoms of itch and rash can be managed to achieve normal looking skin. Treatment should be thought of as an ongoing commitment and can be routinely managed in the following ways:

Avoid triggers – Identify and if possible, remove triggers. Avoid irritation or scratching.

Protect the skin – Apply skin moisturisers at least twice a day. Moisturisers relieve itching, prevent drying and restore the protective layer of the skin. Ensure the moisturiser is not scented. Ask your pharmacist for a suitable product.

Treat flare-ups – Recognise worsening symptoms and treat as soon as possible with corticosteroid creams, ointments, or lotions prescribed by your doctor or recommended by your pharmacist.

Control itching – Use antihistamines and cold compresses. Antihistamines are available at your pharmacy. Talk to your pharmacist regarding the antihistamines most suitable for you and your condition.

Develop an Eczema Action Plan – Consult with your doctor. This is a personal plan and checklist that with help you manage your eczema once you know the triggers. This can be found on the website.

• Avoid soaps as they can damage and dry the skin. Use a soap substitute instead, available at your pharmacy.
• Ensure water is not too hot when showing or bathing.
• Pat skin dry after bathing and immediately apply moisturiser to slightly damp skin.
• Avoid getting too hot and overheating. If possible, reduce the use of electric blankets and avoid wearing wool next to the skin.
• Ensure clothing is soft, smooth, and not tight. Use a low irritant washing liquid/powder and rinse well.
• Moisturise. Develop and maintain a daily skincare routine. Ask your pharmacist how.

At National Pharmacies we can assist you in selecting the right products to manage your eczema.