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Atopic Dermatitis & Homeopathy

Homeopathy assesses each child as unique - and, treats them individually based on their distinctive or characteristic symptoms.

 

Atopic dermatitis or eczema is one of the most common disorders in children. The word, eczema, comes from a Greek term that means ‘to boil, or flow out.’ The definition is used for a group of skin conditions that show a pattern - redness, itching, serum-filled blisters, crusting and scaling.

Atopic eczema is possibly the best known form, followed by contact eczema which is the name given to some forms of eczema that occur as a result of contact with irritants or allergens in the environment.

• In the early years or infancy, the eczema rash often starts on the face with eruptions and discharge. The distribution is uncertain and it may sometimes spare the napkin area

• As the child grows, the eczema may affect the knees, elbows, wrists and ankles, while the skin becomes increasingly thickened, dry and excoriated. This is called ‘lichenification’ (leathery surface).

Studies suggest that 65-70 per cent of cases present before the age of six months. This is reported to rise to 85-90 per cent before age five. Atopy, or ‘personalised’ allergy, is evidenced to affect three per cent of infants. It has a tendency to persist for several years.

Causes of Eczema

People with eczema often report of a family history of either this condition or other allergic conditions such as allergic rhinitis (nasal allergy) or asthma.

  • Contrary to popular belief, the disorder is not contagious. It does not spread from one person to another
  • Eczema may be a consequence of several factors working together, and not just one factor in isolation
  • Research suggests that abnormal immune function may be a factor, just as much as genetic disorders that cause abnormalities with regard to certain proteins that help maintain normal skin such as filaggrin
  • Some forms of eczema are triggered by substances that come in contact with our skin such as certain soaps, cosmetics, clothing, detergents, jewellery, perfume and/or sweat
  • Environmental allergens may also cause outbreaks of eczema. Changes in temperature or humidity or even emotional stress can lead to outbreaks of eczema.

Researchers at the University of Bristol, UK, suggest there are certain small nerve fibres in the skin that transmit ‘itch’ signals to the spinal cord and, thereafter, to the brain. It is likely that a flaw in these nerve fibres and chemical signals (neurotransmitters) that they contain, may be related to eczema and its extreme itching.

There are three types of eczema that affect children, the most common being irritant eczema (nappy rash). It affects nearly all babies to some extent. The trigger is urine and faeces. These are an annoyance to the skin when left in contact for long periods. Atopic eczema seldom affects the nappy area. It most often appears in the skin folds around the elbows, or behind the knees. Seborrhoeic eczema does not itch. It is often associated with greasy yellow scales on the scalp (‘cradle cap’).

Effects of Eczema

Eczema is a common problem - it accounts for 15 per cent of medical consultations. Its effects are not just physical. It psychologically affects, not just the affected individual, but also family, friends and others.

  • Eczema can impact a child’s school life
  • It can affect self-esteem and self-confidence
  • It can lead to depression
  • It can affect social interaction - others may feel awkward touching or having any close contact with a child having eczema
  • It can cause repulsion even among other members of the family.

Healing With Homeopathy

Homeopathy recognises each child as a unique entity and, unlike the allopathic approach, that treats all childhood conditions similarly, homeopathy understands that what causes the eczematic distress of one child, may not be the reason for another child’s seemingly similar condition.

Homeopathy assesses each child and treats them individually, based on their unique, characteristic presenting and latent symptoms.

A study on a group of eczema patients, published in Complementary Therapies in Medicine, reported that homeopathy was as effective as standard conventional treatments in the short-term and more effective than them in the long-term.

A six-year study of patient outcomes at the Bristol Homeopathic Hospital, UK, found that 82 per cent of eczema patients under age 16 said they felt either ‘better’ or ‘much better’ with homeopathic treatment.

Self help

  • Encourage your child to wear cotton clothing; try to maintain an even temperature in their surroundings since rapid temperature changes can cause itching
  • Avoid clothes and bed covers made of scratchy synthetics, wool and other materials with a rough texture as these can irritate your child’s skin
  • Hot baths can cause itching; tepid water would be better
  • Keep your child’s fingernails short to help prevent damage to the child’s skin caused by scratching
  • Avoid any known triggers that you, as parents, feel can aggravate your child’s eczema
  • Dab your child’s sweat away with a damp cloth and pat dry or wash, because sweating can irritate the skin and lead to itching.
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