What is eczema?

Eczema is derived from the Greek word meaning 'to boil over'. The main features of eczema are dry, itching, red and inflamed skin. Eczema represents a reaction pattern to a variety of stimuli, some of which are recognized but many of which are unknown. There are many different types of eczema which can affect people of all ages. It can be disruptive and distressing condition with a profound impact on personal and family life.

How can eczema be treated?

Fortunately, most cases of eczema are easy to control. The mainstay of treatment is soap substitutes, emollients (moisturizers) and topical steroids. Other treatment may be required such as antibiotics, antihistamines and bandaging. Topical immunomodulators, such as tacrolimus are being used more frequently. Only in a minority of more severe cases are drugs that suppress the immune system required.

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