What Is Eczema

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More than half of all skin diseases are classified as eczema/dermatitis. These terms both describe inflammatory conditions of the skin associated with symptoms such as redness and swelling, blisters, weeping, itching and scratching. Some people are born with an inherited allergic tendency called atopy. Most eczema patients are atopic and they may also suffer from other allergic diseases such as asthma, hay fever, urticaria or rhinitis.
Contact eczema/dermatitis is also common and is often caused by sensitivity to nickel in jewellery or studs in clothing. Other trigger substances include irritant chemicals such as oils from exposure at the workplace: - for example shampoo in hairdressers, cement (containing chromium) in builders.
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Patch or skin prick testing is often used to identify allergic foods, chemicals or airborne particles and blood tests looking for antibodies can also help to identify various triggers. It is important to differentiate between allergy and intolerance as these involve different mechanisms and treatments. Treatments for Eczema. Food sensitivity to, in particular, milk and wheat is a common cause of eczema and identification and suitable dietary avoidance can make a significant clinical impact. Salicylates and azo compounds have also been implicated and reducing the number of foods containing these can also help. Sensitivity to mould, spores, dust and dust mite can be helped by avoidance techniques as well as desensitisation techniques such as neutralisation, Isopathy and enzyme potentiated desensitisation can all have a part to play in the management of eczema. Nutritional approaches using evening primrose oil in high doses as well as hydrochloric acid and vitamin B complex can also be useful. Herbal medicine using traditional remedies such as marigold tea can help itching and traditional Chinese herbal medicines have been shown to be highly effective. Classical homeopathy which involves the identification of a suitable remedy for the individual patient has a significant benefit in many patients. Finally acupuncture used initially weekly can have a real benefit in eczema as well as other skin

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