Eczema is a sad reality for over 30 million Americans.1 The condition causes a person’s skin to become red, itchy, and inflamed, often leading to discomfort and even pain. It’s caused by a genetic issue that affects the skin’s ability to hold moisture, leaving it unprotected against bacteria, irritants, and allergens. Eczema is not only bothersome and embarrassing for some, it often exists with other comorbid conditions like depression and infections.
While eczema often occurs in very young children—up to 20 percent of infants have it, according to the National Institutes of Health—about half outgrow it or it improves as they age. Adults get eczema, too, and the complex condition is more common in people who have a personal or family history of asthma and allergies.2
There are various types of eczema and degrees of severity, so it’s important to discuss symptoms with a dermatologist to determine exactly the type you have. Since it can be a mysterious and confusing condition, find out how much you know about eczema, and what resources and treatments are available to help sufferers.
Answer: B) False Eczema cannot be spread from person to person. You can’t “catch” the rash because the root cause is genetic, explains Dr. Jeffrey Zwerner, Senior Medical Director of Dermatology at Teladoc.
Answer: C) Bathe in lukewarm water Too-hot showers or baths steal a lot of moisture from the skin, which leads to more dryness and irritation for people with eczema. A daily 10-minute bath in warm water with gentle cleansers followed by application of moisturizer will help keep flares to a minimum.
Answer: D) All of the above Soaking in a warm tub with any one of these ingredients can soothe symptoms.3 Fill the tub and add 1 cup up to 1 pint of vinegar, and bathe regularly. Or for household bleach, soak for 10 minutes in a full tub after adding 1/2 to a 1/4 cup of bleach, and rinse off. Repeat a few times a week to help kill bacteria, Dr. Zwerner says. Adding 1 tablespoon of table salt to a full tub can help ease stinging skin during an eczema flare-up. Baking soda or oatmeal soaks can also relieve itchiness.
Answer: E) All of the above Any and all of these factors can cause eczema flare-ups. People with eczema have an overreactive immune response to certain substances inside or outside the body, which causes inflammation and a red, itchy skin response. Each sufferer must identify his or her potential triggers for avoidance, Dr. Zwerner explains.
Answer: B) No Unfortunately, there is no cure for this bothersome condition. Thankfully, many treatments make living with eczema easier, including topical medications, phototherapy, biologic drugs, immunosuppressants, and other alternative therapies.
We know that living with eczema can be difficult; it’s hard to understand for others who haven’t experienced it. For many, its severity greatly affects the quality of their lives. But support is available. The National Eczema Association offers a variety of programs and services, including Eczema Wise, an online discussion community.
The American Academy of Dermatology and the International Eczema Council also have resources that provide support. U.S. board-certified dermatologists from Teladoc are available to answer any questions about your condition and help you establish a treatment plan that gets you back to living your best life.
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