Eczema Linked to Food Allergies

On August 30, 2010 by Editor

Eczema on arms.

Eczema on arms.

Eczema, or Atopic Dermatitis is an inflammatory skin condition affecting one in three of us at some point in our lives. Eczema can be related to other allergic conditions such as asthma, hay fever and food allergies, and typically exists in families where multiple family members are affected.

Nearly half of all cases of eczema are triggered by a food allergy, and more than 90% of food allergy cases are associated with eczema, usually beginning in the first year of an infant’s life. Notably, facial eczema is thought to be the first symptom of a food allergy in young children, therefore, testing for a food allergy when dealing with eczema is a sensible decision. Once the offending food is detected it can be removed from the diet, and a new eating plan constructed to optimise nutrition and well being whilst avoiding foods that trigger allergic reactions.

Eczema can be very uncomfortable, and appears to flare up and subsequently disappear for what seems to be no apparent reason. Eczema is not a contagious condition and affects people of all ages, but commonly appears in infants from 2 to 6 months of age. Most children will outgrow their eczema, but some people will carry the condition into adulthood, where it tends to improve in middle age and is relatively uncommon in the older generation.

Symptoms of eczema include itching, and a red, dry, patchy or cracked skin rash that occurs frequently, often on the face, knees, hands and elbows.

Causes of eczema include stress, chemical irritants, dry and cold or hot and humid weather, air conditioning or artificial heating, dust mites, mould, and some food allergens. The exact cause of eczema is unknown but it appears to be linked to a family history of asthma or hay fever.

If you suffer from eczema, it is important to keep the skin moisturised with a low irritant cream such as sorbolene or and wear natural fabrics to allow the skin to breathe. When bathing, avoid water that is too hot on the skin, use low irritant cleanser on the body, and pat the skin dry instead of rubbing. When flare ups occur, hydrocortisone creams can be purchased over the counter to treat the affected areas. Avoid scratching, try to take a cool bath to reduce the irritation. Applying wet bandages can help to heal broken skin, reduce itchiness and soothe the inflamed area. If these methods fail, see a doctor about prescribing corticosteroids, an effective treatment for reducing inflammation and itchiness.

In your home, remove carpets and rugs if possible to avoid dust mites. Keep domestic pets outdoors, and wash your bedding often. There is no known cure for eczema, but applying these methods can help you to control the outbreaks.

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