What is Eczema?
Eczema (also known as dermatitis) is a dry skin condition. Its symptoms vary considerably from person to person and it comes in many different forms. The main problem is that the skin barrier we normally take for granted having healthy skin, is abnormal and not working properly. Skin gets dry/cracked and as a result certain things coming into contact with the skin cause redness/itch and discharge. Lots of things trigger eczema that are hard to control - cold/hot air, sweat, infections, viral infections, water. There is no cure for eczema but creams/allergy avoidance can ensure as normal life as possible and it's important to aim for this and increase strength of treatments safely, to ensure this. Problem in primary care is your GP tells you, you have eczema, gives you creams and off you go! It's not that simple and hopefully this information can help.
Up to 80% of children will be sensitised to one or more of the common food or airborne allergens. Therefore a positve skin prick test doesn't mean 100% that allergen is making the eczema worse, but potentially it is so they are useful to pick things to then try and avoid. Only after avoiding for few weeks (and skin gets better) than reintroduction (and skin gets worse) can that problem be more accurately proven to be a cause. Remember, lots of things cause eczema flare ups and key thing is proper treatment. Dr David will test as appropriate, and discuss options as well as issue you an ECZEMA PLAN. Here is some information about eczema management from NICE.
Ok. I know how parents are concerned about steroids but they are safe. Important thing is to use then on red/itchy areas only when you see the benefit and a child much happier when no longer itchy. A child scratching makes the eczema worse and desire to scratch even stronger so this cycle need to break. Dr David can review your child's skin and discuss a plan. Steroid creams are very effective in most cases but need to continue for as long as skin is itchy so doctors are wrong when they say stop after 5 or more days as you carry on until its better. Apply steroid cream to dry skin and delay moisturising same area by at least 30 minutes.