Eczema refers to an umbrella of skin disorders that are characterized by skin inflammation or irritation. Although eczema can affect anyone, it is most common in infants and young children. It cannot spread from one person to another, however, it can be inherited. Eczema is also called dermatitis.
Eczema is not considered a medical emergency, although it can cause discomfort to the individual suffering from it. Eczema can be controlled with proper management. To learn how to manage skin conditions and other common ailments, enroll in First Aid Courses.
Types of Eczema
There are different types of eczema. These include:
- Atopic dermatitis – skin irritation due to expose to allergens that include pollens, molds, soaps, and perfumes, among others
- Contact dermatitis – skin irritation in a local area where skin has come into direct contact with the allergen
- Seborrheic dermatitis – skin irritation of unknown origins but is known to result to yellowish oily skin patches
- Nummular dermatitis – skin irritation of coin-shaped patches that are often found in the arms, back, buttocks or lower legs
- Statis dermatitis – skin irritation found on the lower legs that is typically caused by compromised function of the valves of the veins
- Dyshidrotic Eczema (dyshidrosis) – skin irritation characterized by development of small blisters on the hands and feet
- Neurodermatitis – chronic irritation skin irritation that manifests after being bitten by an insect
Causes of Eczema
The cause of eczema or why it causes an irritation to the skin is still undetermined. However, there are following allergens or triggers that can lead to eczema:
- Direct contact with any of the following: clothing, nickel (jewelry), cosmetics, soaps, detergents, perfumes, and sweat among others
- Environmental irritants such as, pollens, pollutants and molds, among others
- Temperature or humidity changes
- Psychological stress
Signs and Symptoms of Eczema
Signs and symptoms of eczema can show anywhere in the body. These include:
- Itchy, red rash on the skin
- Infants: usually found on the scalp, forehead, cheeks, neck, forearm or legs
- Children/ adults: usually found on the face, neck, elbow, knees or ankles
- Very dry, scaly or thickened skin
- Fair-skin: usually appears reddish then turns brownish
- Dark-skin: usually appears as a pigmentation
First Aid Management for Eczema
The purpose of applying first aid for the different kinds of eczema is to ease the discomfort felt by the individual suffering from it.
- Wash the hands with water and soap.
- If there are sores on the skin, wash with water and soap.
- If there is an open wound, apply antibiotic ointments to avoid infection.
- If there are blisters, do not pop to avoid increasing risk for infection. Cover the blisters with sterile gauze. Change the dressings daily.
- Apply any topical corticosteroid to reduce redness and itching once or twice daily.
Eczema refers to an umbrella of skin disorders that are characterized by the inflammation or irritation of the skin. Eczema can be used interchangeably with dermatitis.