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Wednesday, May 18th
Eczema is an itchy, aggravating skin condition that results in irritated, red, thickened and scaly skin. While there is no cure for eczema, having eczema is not a 24-hour 7-day a week sentence. The symptoms associated with eczema occur in cycles with periods of flare ups followed by periods of relief.
During an eczema flare up, the skin becomes extremely irritated and the skin rash described above occurs. Some of the most common places for flare ups to occur are on the face, elbows, knees, wrists, hands, chest, neck, and ankles. Most often these flare ups are most severe in the folds of skin such as on the inside of the elbow or the back of the knee.
As mentioned before, there is no cure for eczema. So the focus for eczema relief is to prevent flare ups and to lessen their severity when they do occur. This is done through a combination of medication and behavioral changes.
Since eczema is triggered by various things in the environment, the best course of action is to avoid things that trigger eczema flare ups. While no two people's triggers will be exactly the same, there are some triggers that are pretty common among eczema patients: soaps, perfumes, smoke, paints, pollen, pets, sweat, fabrics like wool, and food allergies.
In addition to avoiding triggers, proper skin care and lifestyle and diet guidelines are also needed to avoid eczema flare ups. You may also need to use certain medications to keep your eczema under control.
The key to preventing eczema flare ups through skin care is to avoid any skin contact with your known triggers and by making sure that your skin is properly moisturized at all times. Take cooler, shorter showers to prevent drying, and drink plenty of water. A humidifier might also be a great idea especially during the cold, dry winter months. Be sure to wear loose, soft clothing that does not irritate your skin. Wear sunscreen and avoid activities that will result in heavy sweating.
Diet and Lifestyle
Since 10 percent of all eczema sufferers experience flare ups due to food allergies, it might be a good idea to find out what foods you are allergic to and avoid them until you narrow down the ones, if any, that are contributing to your eczema flare ups. You should also avoid other things that you know that you are allergic to as they could be contributing to your eczema problem. Pay attention to the weather and take care of your skin accordingly. Stay indoors on overly hot days and bundle up on cold ones to prevent flare ups.
In addition to all of this, take all of your medications and use all of your creams as prescribed. While it may be easy to become lazy during periods of relief, you may avoid more flare ups by sticking to your prevention routine. And remember what they say, "An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure."
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