Suffering with signs of eczema? The Coker Chest Clinic allergy specialist can provide efficient and effective eczema treatment for patients anywhere in the UK.
Eczema (also known as dermatitis) is a condition that affects the skin. There are many different types of eczema, but atopic eczema is the most common. This causes itchy, red, cracked, and sometimes weeping skin, and it is often associated with asthma and hayfever. It is not contagious.
Atopic eczema affects 1 in 5 children and 1 in 12 adults in the UK. It can sometimes be confused with psoriasis, vitiligo, rosacea and yeast infections, as all of these conditions can cause red, patchy, dry or itchy skin.
Often genetic, eczema causes the skin to become dry and irritated due to a defective skin barrier. This means that the skin is less able to retain moisture, and is more susceptible to bacteria and irritants which can cause an inflammatory response.
If you have eczema as a child, you can sometimes ‘grow out’ of the symptoms. However, they may return at any point during your life.
Eczema but it is usually defined by itchy, dry, red skin which can become cracked, sore and weeping. These rashes can occur all over the body, including the face and scalp, but are most common on hands, insides of elbows and the backs of knees.
These rashes are not usually permanent. They come and go in flare-ups which can last around two or three weeks. However, severe cases can cause rashes all over the body and result in constant itching and disturbed sleep.
Flare-ups have many causes, including:
- Environmental irritants such as damp, pollen, mould and even cold, dry weather
- Underlying immune condition
- Using chemicals on the skin such as detergents from soaps
- Hormones and stress
- Eating a food to which the patient has an allergy
- Insect bites or stings
One complication of eczema is infection. Due to the defective skin barrier, coupled with lesions caused by cracked skin or through itching, those with eczema are more susceptible to skin infections. An infection may be suspected if it becomes unusually severe, if the skin is weeping or crusting, or if the patient begins feeling hot and shivery. If these symptoms occur, seek medical advice from a professional as soon as possible.
Conditions related to eczema
- Eosinophilic oesophagitis
- Hay fever
- Histamine intolerance syndrome
- Mast cell activation syndrome
- Staphylococcal infections
Investigations & tests for eczema
As eczema can be confused with other skin conditions such as psoriasis, vitiligo, rosacea and yeast infections (ringworm), it is important to see a specialist in order to correctly identify the underlying condition.
At The Coker Chest Clinic, we conduct comprehensive testing for the entire spectrum of atopy, including eczema, asthma, hay fever, eosinophilic oesophagitis, angioedema, histamine intolerance syndrome, mast cell activation syndrome, and more. This ensures we get to the root cause of the problem so we can provide appropriate and effective treatment for the underlying issue.
We can usually provide a diagnosis within 2 days, which will be backed up with test results.
Mild eczema can be managed with special eczema cream moisturisers called ‘emollients’. These are applied to the skin daily to prevent it from becoming dry. Patients may also be prescribed effective topical creams containing steroids or the most suitable topical immunosuppressants in order to reduce inflammations.
Those with more severe cases can be prescribed anti-IgE treatment. ‘IgE’ stands for immunoglobulin E, which is an antibody produced by the immune system; when triggered by an allergen, this antibody triggers an immune response, causing an allergic reaction. Anti-IgE medicine attaches to IgE antibodies to prevent this allergic reaction from happening, thus relieving the patient of symptoms before they begin, rather than treating them after they have already set in.
Book your consultation
To arrange a telephone, video or face-to-face consultation with our specialist consultant in allergic diseases, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.