Itchy, itchy EczemaNational Pharmacies
Over a million Australians have eczema and of these just under 20 per cent are children. May is Eczema Awareness Month and with Winter approaching it is important for those with eczema to prepare for the cold season.
What is Eczema?
Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a non-infectious inflammation of the skin that presents as a red, dry and itchy rash most commonly seen on the face, neck and creases of the elbows, wrists and behind the knees.
We are not exactly sure what causes eczema but it often occurs in people with a family history of eczema, asthma or hay fever. There are many known factors that can cause an eczema are-up or worsen symptoms. These di er from person to person and include:
- Dry skin
- Allergens, such as pollens, animals (such as cats and dogs) and grasses
- Weather changes
- Skin infections
- Contact with chemicals such as soaps, perfumes and in swimming pools
- Heat or hot rooms
- Sand (especially in sand pits) and rough fabrics, such as wool or nylon.
There is no cure for eczema but many people find it improves as they get older and this is very much so for children. However, there are ways to manage eczema.
• Identify and, if possible, remove triggers.
• Protect the skin by applying skin moisturisers at least twice a day. Moisturisers relieve itching, prevent drying and restore the skins protective layer. Ensure the moisturiser is not scented; ask you pharmacist for a suitable product.
• Treat are-ups as soon as possible with corticosteroid creams and ointments prescribed by your doctor or pharmacist.
• Control itching by using antihistamines and cold compresses. Antihistamines are available at the pharmacy, talk
to your pharmacist regarding the antihistamines most suitable to you and your condition.
• Develop an Eczema Action Plan with your doctor. This is a personal plan and checklist that with help you manage your eczema. This can be found on the allergy.org.au website.
• Avoid soaps as they can be dying and irritating, use a soap substitute instead.
• Use tepid (lukewarm) water when showing or bathing.
• Pat skin dry after bathing and apply moisturiser to slightly damp skin.
• Avoid getting too hot. In Winter, do not use electric blankets keep heating to
• Ensure clothing is soft and smooth; wool can be irritating. Use a low irritant washing liquid/powder and rinse well.
At National Pharmacies we can assist you in selecting the right products to manage your eczema.
Author: Robyn Johns
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