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Wednesday, February 8th
Eczema is a skin disorder that affects the young and old alike. Identified by red, thickened, scaly patches of skin, eczema's emotional scars are often overlooked in light of the more visible ones. It's true that the sight of eczema can be hard to deal with especially for young children afflicted with the disorder. But it's what can't be seen that causes the most damage.
Since eczema commonly makes its first appearance in young children between the ages of one through five, the onslaught of the disease can be quite emotional. Young children can become irritable, sleepless and hard to manage. In addition to causing a visible skin rash, eczema is also extremely itchy. This can make it hard for children to sleep or sit still through everyday activities. And since scratching causes the condition to get worse and may lead to a secondary infection, parents have to stay diligent to prevent their children from making the eczema worse. This can be very emotionally straining for both the parent and the child.
When a person with eczema is young, visible appearance may not cause quite as much concern as it does during the adolescent years, but dealing with the everyday concerns surrounding the disorder can wreak havoc on a young life. Since eczema is commonly triggered by weather and physical activity, children with eczema can be left out of school activities and recreational periods. This can cause a child to feel isolated and may lead to ostracism from classmates. Even common activities such as swimming can be a chore complete with pre and post swim regimens.
The everyday routine of dealing with eczema can also be grueling. Special medications and creams must be taken and diligence is required to avoid things that can trigger an eczema flare up. There's no option of just letting is slide for today. Eczema care is an everyday routine that can add a lot of stress to a young life.
As a child gets older, cosmetic concerns usually take precedent over other concerns. The skin care regimen has been applied day in and day out until it has become second nature and the practice of avoiding triggers has become so ingrained in their mind set that scarce a thought is needed to avoid them. But what can't be avoided is the awareness of this very visible condition and the fact that everyone can see it.
Due to its visible nature, eczema can be extremely embarrassing for teenagers and adults. The skin that is affected by the disorder can become thickened, leathery, or scaly. And hiding eczema can be difficult if it appears in places such as the hands and face. This can lead to ridicule from classmates and coworkers and it may even affect employment opportunities. Eczema also has a profound affect on romantic relationships.
So if you or a loved one is affected by eczema, take care to pay attention to the emotional aspects of the disorder as well as the physical ones. Young children may need reassurance from parents on a constant basis and teenagers may need help in boosting self esteem and learning to dress in a way to mask the condition.
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