Eczema (also called dermatitis) is a condition that causes the skin to become inflamed, resulting in itchiness, dryness and cracking.
It’s a long-term condition that mainly affects children, although adults can also suffer from it.
While eczema can be used to describe a range of conditions, the most common is ‘atopic eczema’.
Usually, this tends to crop up around the knees, elbows, neck, hands and cheeks - although any part of the body can be affected.
As mentioned, it’s a long-term condition, although it can improve over time - particularly in children. How intense the condition is can also be affected by things like the weather, allergies and exposure to triggers that affect sensitive skin, like soaps and other substances.
While there’s no cure for eczema, it’s possible to reduce the intensity of symptoms and help the condition of skin improve over time. Our doctors can provide advice, recommend treatment and if needed, prescribe medication to help treat eczema.
The intensity of eczema can differ from person to person, but in general, involves:
Skin affected by eczema can become really itchy. Constant scratching can cause bleeding and in the worst cases, infections may develop.
If an infection takes hold, you may notice your eczema getting much worse, with swelling and pain developing. Yellow-coloured spots and crusting may also occur and fluid may start to leak from the skin.
In more serious cases, a high temperature may develop and you may feel generally unwell.
If you’re concerned that you or your child has developed an infection, or simply want advice on dealing with eczema, it’s well worth consulting a GP for advice on managing your condition.