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Eczema - Essay Example

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Eczema also known as Atopic Dermatitis is a chronic skin condition characterized by superficial skin inflammation, with diffuse redness, swelling, oozing, crusting, scaling, and itchiness. The term eczema is broadly applied to a range of persistent or recurring skin rashes .
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Download file to see previous pages In newborns it causes a thick, yellow crusty scalp rash called cradle cap which seems related to lack of biotin.
Less common eczemas include Dyshidrosis that only occurs on palms, soles, and sides of fingers and toes as tiny opaque bumps called vesicles, thickening, and cracks. Discoid eczema is characterized by round spots of oozing or dry rash, with clear boundaries, often on lower legs. Venous eczema occurs in people with impaired circulation, varicose veins and edema, and is particularly common in the ankle area of people over 50. The disorder predisposes to leg ulcers. Dermatitis herpetiformis causes intensely itchy and typically symmetrical rash on arms, thighs, knees, and back. Neurodermatitis (aka lichen simplex chronicus, localized scratch dermatitis) is an itchy area of thickened, pigmented eczema patch that results from habitual rubbing and scratching. Autoeczematization (aka id reaction, autosensitization) is an eczematous reaction to an infection with parasites, fungi, bacteria or viruses.There are also eczemas overlaid by viral infections (e. herpeticum, e. vaccinatum), and eczemas resultant from underlying disease (e.g. lymphoma).
Constant itching, scratching, and rubbing of the skin may give rise to secondary bacterial infections. Some known factors like emotional stress, fragrances, environmental temperature, humidity, house dust mites, upholstered furniture, carpeting, chemicals, fabric softeners, and wool clothing can worsen symptoms of eczema. Diagnosis of eczema is based on the patient's family history of allergy, hay fever, or asthma, duration of the skin condition (allergic eczema is a chronic condition), and the appearance of the skin. Dietary habits, lifetyle habits, allegic tendencies,...
Dermatitis is often treated with prescribed Glucocorticoid (a corticosteroid steroid) ointments or creams. For mild-moderate eczema a weak steroid may be used (e.g. Hydrocortisone or Desonide), whilst more severe cases require a higher-potency steroid (e.g. Clobetasol propionate). They are highly effective in most cases, but must be used sparingly to avoid possible side effects, the most significant of which is that their prolonged use can cause the skin to thin and become fragile (atrophy). High strength steroids used over large areas may be significantly absorbed into the body causing bone demineralisation (osteoporosis). Finally by their immunosuppression action they can, if used alone, exacerbate some skin infections (fungal or viral). If using on the face, only a low strength steroid should be used and care must be taken to avoid the eyes. Hence a steroid of an appropriate strength to promptly settle an episode of eczema should be sparingly applied. Once the desired response has been achieved, it should be discontinued and not used for long-term prevention. Any skin infection further irritates the skin and a rapid detoriation in the condition may ensue; the appropriate antibiotic should be given. The disruption to the skin's normal barrier protection through dry and cracked skin allows easy entry for bacteria and fungi. Scratching by the patient both introduces infection and spreads it from one area to another.
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