As we enter National Eczema Week (13 – 19 September), NHS Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group is raising awareness of atopic eczema (atopic dermatitis), which is the most common form of eczema, a condition that causes the skin to become itchy, dry and cracked.
Currently there is no cure and severe eczema often has a significant impact on daily life, which may be difficult to cope with physically and mentally.
Atopic eczema is more common in children, often developing before their first birthday. But it may also develop for the first time in adults. It often occurs in people who get allergies, and is usually a long-term (chronic) condition, although it can improve significantly, or even clear completely, in some children as they get older.
People with atopic eczema usually have periods when symptoms are less noticeable, as well as periods when symptoms become more severe (flare-ups).
The exact cause of atopic eczema is unknown, but it’s clear it is not down to one single thing.
The symptoms of atopic eczema often have certain triggers, such as soaps, detergents, stress and the weather.
Sometimes food allergies can play a part, especially in young children with severe eczema, and you could be asked to keep a food diary to try to determine whether a specific food makes your symptoms worse.
Treatment for atopic eczema can help to relieve the symptoms and many cases improve over time. There are a range of treatments to help to control symptoms and manage the condition, including:
- self-care techniques, such as reducing scratching and avoiding triggers
- emollients (moisturising treatments) – used on a daily basis for dry skin
- topical corticosteroids – used to reduce swelling, redness and itching during flare-ups
More information can be found by visiting www.nhs.uk