Clearing up the confusion around eczema
(NC) – For some of us, itchy skin conditions such as eczema can define our entire life.
November is Eczema Awareness Month and in an effort to raise awareness the Eczema Society of Canada (ESC) is giving us a list of myths and facts to help clear up the confusion:
Myth: Eczema is contagious.
Fact: No it's not. It can be caused by a number of factors, including allergies, genetics, and contact from irritants, but it cannot be passed from one person to another through contact.
Myth: Bathing is bad for eczema, and can make the condition worse by drying the skin.
Fact: Bathing plays a critical role in managing eczema. The most important treatment for dry skin is to put water back in. One way to do this is to bathe frequently. Daily brief baths should be taken in warm water, using a gentle cleanser, and should always be followed by the application of a moisturizer to the entire body. This last step is critical, as a bath without moisturizing afterward will dry the skin.
Myth: Topical steroids and other prescription treatments are dangerous and should be avoided.
Fact: Topical steroids, and other treatments, when used appropriately and under physician supervision, are a safe and effective treatment for eczema. Potential side effects, such as the thinning of skin, may occur if topical steroid preparations are used excessively, or for long periods of time. It is important to follow the advice of your doctor exactly.
Myth: Eczema is caused by dairy, or other foods that are consumed.
Fact: Food allergies are commonly found in eczema sufferers; however, the assumption that food allergies are a root cause of eczema is not always the case. Not everyone with eczema has food allergies, and diet may not be the direct cause of an eczema flare-up. Consult your doctor about ways to help manage eczema triggers.
Myth: Eczema can be cured.
Fact: Currently, there is no cure. Eczema can be well managed with the right treatment and support, however. The good news is that medical community continues to investigate the causes, as well as the optimal ways to treat it.
If you struggle with eczema, the Eczema Society of Canada can help through a wide range of resources. Additional information is online at www.eczemahelp.ca.