Eczema usually refers to the medical term Atopic Dermatitis (Atopic: Allergy based, Dermatitis: skin inflammation). It commonly develops in childhood but can sometimes present for the first time in adults. It is a result of both inherited genetic factors, as well as exposure to environmental factors.
Clinically it presents with dry, red, itchy patches of skin, most often on the face and in the skin folds of the elbow, knee, ankle and wrist. It can progress and be very severe, with hospitalisation necessary in some cases. Most commonly it resolves through childhood and disappears before primary school, however a small percentage of patients have eczema into adulthood.
It is best to avoid common triggers, such as soap, shampoo, bubble bath (especially those commonly found in hotel rooms!), rough clothing, carpet, grass and heavily chlorinated pools or spas. As such we recommend regularly using a soap free wash and moisturiser, such as Dermaveen or QV washes. If the skin is very dry, a Urea cream such as Urederm is ideal.
During flares, a topical corticosteroid will bring down the redness and inflammation and pharmacists can provide hydrocortisone 1% creams such as DermAid or Cortic-DS for this, or refer you to the doctor for more severe attacks.
Pharmacists are often in a better position than doctors to help prevent attacks, so come in and see the friendly team at Mooloolaba Beach Pharmacy if you or your child has symptoms of eczema!