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Eczema - Symptoms

Presentation of eczema varies from person to person.

Important features common to most forms of eczema include the following:

  • dry, itchy skin;
  • redness, heat and swelling on the affected area;
  • skin eruptions — usually multiple small ones;
  • occasionally, there may be an oozing of thin, watery fluid from the eruptions;
  • chronic scratching, which may lead to thickening of skin in the affected area;
  • darkening of skin in long standing cases;
  • crust formation; and
  • flaking

Patients may have lesions on any part of the body, but commonly affected areas include the following:

  • knees, elbows, ankles — especially on the inner sides;
  • arms and legs;
  • face and neck; and
  • folds of the skin.

Commonly affected areas among children include the nappy area, scalp, face and neck, and forearms. The patient may report acute eczema, where their symptoms may exist for a short period of time (less than four weeks), and then disappear completely. In chronic eczema, the symptoms persist for a long period of time and tend to be recurring in nature.

Common symptoms of eczema

What to look for
  • Oozing of the skin
  • Repidly increasing lesions
  • Increased flare up
  • Non-healing
Cause of eczema
  • Unknown
  • Emotional stress
  • Family history of allergies or asthma

Living with eczema

All long-lasting skin diseases have a psychological impact, and eczema is no exception. Some of the emotional symptoms noticed in patients are listed below:

  • There is a lot of embarrassment and self-consciousness that patients experience due to the visible symptoms of eczema.
  • Continuous itching disturbs the daily life of adults and children alike, which can negatively impact work, sleep and other essential activities.
  • Eczema patients may also let out a foul-smelling discharge, causing major embarrassment.
  • Contact eczema can prevent women from doing daily chores like washing dishes, clothes, etc., thereby making it difficult to manage their families.

If ignored, it may lead to:

Affected quality of life
  • Lack of sleep, decreased productivity at home and at work
  • Higher health costs and more health related problems
  • Adults with eczema are embarrassed of themselves and fear social interactions
Physical level
  • Erythroderma (complete involvement of skin )
  • Offesive discharge
  • Pigmentation
  • Lichenification(thickening of the skin)
  • Post inflammatory de-pigmentation

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