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Eczema

Eczema Symptoms and Eczema Treatment in Colorado Springs

What is Eczema?

Eczema Symptoms or Atopic Dermatitis symptoms are usually a red, itchy rash that requires immune modulating ointments and aggressive skin care. A written individualized plan for taking care of Eczema is generated for all of our patients from general skin care – to food avoidance and environmental control – to medicated ointments and creams.

Eczema

Click HERE to see a slide show of  different types of skin inflammation (dermatitis)

Click HERE to see a slide show of  different types of rashes

Click HERE to see a slide show of  different types of Infant skin rashes

What is Eczema? Atopic dermatitis, also called eczema, is a chronic, relapsing inflammation of the skin. The skin irritation produces intense itching, which occurs both during the day and at night. The rash of atopic dermatitis is worsened by scratching. Eighty-five percent of patients will present during the first 5 years of life, the earliest age being 3 months. The nature of the rash varies with the age of the patient. In infants, the rash is mainly on the face, knees, and elbows. In older children and adults, the rash involves the creases of the elbows and knees, as well as the wrists, ankles and face. A few patients will have hand irritation as the only problem. Thick skin, also called lichenification, is due to chronic scratching and becomes more of a problem as the patient grows older. The majority of children outgrow their atopic dermatitis. Eczema persisting in adulthood consists mainly of itching, thickening and dry skin, affecting mainly the creases of the arms and legs as well as the neck and trunk. In most patients, other members of the family also have eczema, asthma or hay fever.
What causes
Eczema?
        No one knows what causes atopic dermatitis, but the tendency to develop dry itchy skin with allergies is inherited. Many things can cause the skin to itch in patients with atopic dermatitis. Inhaled allergens like house dust, pollens and animal dander are quite common. Allergies to egg, milk, soy, wheat, peanut, fish, and other foods are known factors, especially in very young patients. Physical factors like changes in temperature and humidity are a problem. Winter is notorious for low humidity causing excessive drying of the skin. Excessive sweating, especially with exercise, can cause intense itching. Wool and acrylic clothing directly irritate the skin, as do perfumes, cosmetics, scented soaps and detergents or alcohol containing items. Emotional stress can make atopic dermatitis worse. Certain bacteria and viruses complicate atopic dermatitis.
How do I treat
Eczema?
1.     Avoid specific irritants. Obtain 100% cotton clothing and bed sheets, and avoid wool clothing. These items should be washed in detergent free of dyes, perfumes and softeners. Avoid fabric softeners. Limit exposure to house dust, animals or pollen if you are allergic. Special covers can be purchased for your pillows and mattress. Speak with Dr. Baswell or Dr. Caplan about which foods to completely avoid and which foods to try at home. For home food challenges, avoid the suspected foods for at least two to three weeks; then challenge with moderate amounts of each food for three days. If no increase in rash or itch occurs, that food may not be an important allergen. If the skin flares, seek treatment and withhold the food until your follow-up appointment. Go on to try the other foods, one at a time, the same way. Do not allow smoking in the house or car.2.     How you bathe every day is important. Showers should be with lukewarm water. Use mild soap (like Dove) without perfumes. Keeping the skin moist is critically important. Try to take daily baths and soak for 20 to 30 minutes in lukewarm water without soap or oils. Oils added to bath water prevent water from entering the skin. Do not scrub your skin dry. Instead always pat dry with a cotton towel after bathing. This will leave a little moisture on your skin. Then apply a moisturizer. Petroleum products and non-perfumed creams are advised. Lotions contain mostly water and alcohol. Lotions are good for mild dry skin. For more severe dry skin, creams or ointments are better. Some times, we recommend Bleach Baths for patients who struggle with skin infections. We will review specific instructions for bleach baths at your visit if this treatment technique is appropriate.
  3.     Antihistamines are very helpful to reduce itching, especially at night. If you have problems staying awake during the day, discuss a non-sedating antihistamine with your doctor.4.     Red or inflamed skin may require prescription creams or ointments. For more severe irritation, topical steroids are good. They come in low, medium and high strengths. Long term use of strong steroids cause thinning of the skin and stretch marks. For mild irritation, start with over the counter hydrocortisone cream. More severe irritation may require a stronger steroid. Once rash is well controlled, try switching to a less potent steroid like 1% hydrocortisone ointment for 2 to 3 weeks. Once the rash is controlled, you can use daily hydrocortisone on trouble spots. Don’t use high potency steroids on your face, genital areas or underarms. Elidel or Protopic work well for these areas for moderate to severe eczema.5.     Skin infections should be treated aggressively. Seek treatment by your physician. The regular use of a topical antibiotic ointment can help reduce skin bacteria.

6.     If scabs and crusts are thick you may need soaks to loosen the crusts so topical medication can reach the skin.

7.     Do not take or be exposed to anyone who has had a smallpox vaccination. Patients with atopic dermatitis can have spread of the vaccinia virus (from the inoculation) and get a generalized rash. Also, avoid contact with people who have fever blisters (Herpes).

Main Office

CS Allergy

3425 Austin Bluffs Pkwy Suite #205
Colorado Springs, Colorado 80918

Phone: (719) 592-1365

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South Office

CS Allergy

1235 Lake Plaza Drive Suite #218
Colorado Springs, Colorado 80906

Phone: (719) 592-1365

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Monument Office

CS Allergy

550 Highway 105
Monument, Colorado 80132

Phone: (719) 592-1365

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