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Eczema is a group of inflamed skin conditions that result in chronic itchy rashes. About 15 million people in the U.S. suffer from some form of the condition, including 10-20 percent of all infants. Eczema ymptoms vary from person to person but often include dry, red, itchy patches on the skin which break out in rashes when scratched.

Local and Environmental Risk Factors

Objects and conditions that trigger itchy eczema outbreaks may include rough or coarse materials touching the skin, excessive heat or sweating, soaps, detergents, disinfectants, fruit and meat juices, dust mites, animal saliva and danders, upper respiratory infections and stress.

Years with longer, hotter summers are especially problematic for eczema symptoms. However, the volatile temperatures and humidity levels that come with living between the Missouri and Mississippi River Valleys can be a chronic nuisance. When it comes to animal saliva and pet dander, it’s not just the animals in your house but other people’s pets you meet around town. As part of its top ranking for pet-friendly activities, Reward Expert reminds us that St. Louis has 81 pet-friendly tourist destinations.

Nevertheless, there’s no reason to think you need to relocate just to deal with this skin condition. Especially if you still haven’t sought out eczema treatment from a medical dermatologist. Small changes can sometimes make a big difference, but even many severe eczema cases can be effectively managed with prescription-strength medications.

Common Complications

Also known as atopic dermatitis, eczema may also be a sign that more serious symptoms and conditions are on their way. The most obvious one is that cracked, broken skin is more susceptible to infection, but there are others you should know about. More than half of children with eczema will go on to develop asthma and/or hay fever. People with atopic dermatitis are also more likely to suffer from skin allergies, known as allergic contact dermatitis. Trouble sleeping is an indirect, but still serious, complication related to eczema.

Eczema Treatments

At-home eczema treatments involve the restriction of scratching, use of moisturizing lotions or creams, cold compresses and nonprescription anti-inflammatory corticosteroid creams and ointments. Simple preventative steps include choosing fabrics that breathe to avoid trapping excessive moisture against your skin and washing any new garments before you wear them.

If this proves insufficient, it’s time to see a dermatologist for your eczema. Physicians may prescribe corticosteroid medication, antibiotics to combat infection, or sedative antihistamines. Photodynamic therapy is a common procedure that uses light to reduce rashes. For severe eczema cases, drugs such as cyclosporine A may be recommended.

Don’t let eczema get to the point where it starts to seriously disrupt your ability to get through the day. Get a personalized evaluation and develop a tailored treatment plan. Get immediate relief and prevent future outbreaks. A consultation with one of our dermatologists can help identify what treatment options make the most sense for you.

Contact us to schedule an appointment.