Dermatitis commonly known as eczema is a group of skin conditions that includes atopic eczema which affects the inside creases of the elbow, allergic and irritant contact eczema which is a result of an allergic response to a substance, and stasis eczema which is skin inflammation that develops in people with poor blood circulation.
The skin condition is characterised by itchy and inflamed patches skin which normally affects children but may also affect adults. It often appears in the elbows, behind the knees and at times behind the neck.
Signs and symptoms of eczema include itching no matter which part of the skin is affected, a rash on the face, back of knees, wrists, hands , feet or elbow creases, weeping blisters, affected areas are very dry, thickened or scaly.
Pharmacist Martina Musasiwa says eczema is caused by a number of factors which include genetics, abnormal function of the immune system, environment, activities that may cause skin to be more sensitive, defects in the skin barrier that allow moisture out.“Eczema is commonly found in families with history of allergies, asthma or hay fever and knowing your allergens is important as everyday things such as cigarette smoke, pollen can cause eczema to flare” she added.
Eczema flare-ups can be prevented by moisturizing frequently, avoiding sudden changes in temperature or humidity, avoid sweating or overheating, reduce stress as this might worsen your eczema, avoiding scratchy materials such as wool, avoiding harsh soaps, detergents, and solvents and know your allergens.
Thirty year old mother to one Tafadzwa Matimati from Highlands has had atopic eczema since she was a child. “I have had eczema since I was very young and I have been trying different medicines and skin creams to manage it till recently when I found a lotion the cleared the eczema and I have not had itching for some time now and my skin is slowly evening out and the patches clearing,” she said.
You need to know the cause of your rash before you use any treatment so you should see you doctor or visit your nearest pharmacy if you are unsure of the cause of the rash, if the rash covers a large area, the rash is weeping, bleeding or has pus, you have a history of skin rash in your family and if the rash does not get any better within three days after using self care suggestions.