ECZEMA is a painful skin condition affecting babies, children, and adults. Research has revealed a crucial link between allergies and eczema which could prove vital for treatment. Up to 15 million adults and children are suffering from eczema in the UK.
The dry, itchy skin rash costs the NHS almost £170 million each year. Eczema is common in babies but also affects older children and adults. Researchers believe there is a vital link between allergies and developing eczema.
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Amena Warner, Head of Clinical Services at Allergy UK, said: “It is important for both patients and healthcare professionals to understand the connection between atopic eczema and allergy.
“Eczema is a common symptom that can be ‘triggered’ by irritants and allergens as well as from a genetic tendency of dry skin. As well as a symptom, it can also be the gateway to allergic sensitization, so when the body is exposed to that allergen there is a potential for a reaction.”
Experts say it’s important to protect the skin barrier to help reduce the risk of allergen sensitivity. If you have an intense itch or areas of dry, sensitive, red, or inflamed skin, you’re advised to see a doctor.
Warner said: “Having an accurate and timely diagnosis is important for effective management of eczema and maintaining the skin barrier.”
Around 1.7 million schoolchildren are already suffering eczema in the UK. It’s estimated between 50-70 percent of children with early-onset eczema are sensitized to at least one allergen. Natalie Newman, mother of Calum, aged 5, said early diagnosis can significantly reduce suffering.
She explained: “Calum’s multiple allergies started from a really early age. His eczema was one of the key indicators that something wasn’t right.
“It took a long time for us to get a diagnosis and Calum now has to avoid 15 foods plus reduce exposure to multiple airborne triggers. His eczema still causes him a lot of distress when he experiences a bad flare-up.
“I cannot stress how important it is for new parents to track their child’s symptoms and discuss them with their GP.” Eczema isn’t just a painful and irritating condition, it can also affect self-confidence.
Over half (52 percent) of adults have head and neck eczema, while 50 percent have it on their hands, all areas that are easily visible. Allergy UK recommends using emollient on the skin even when eczema isn’t currently present, to keep in moisture and prevent any future flare-ups. You can also try cutting out certain foods like cow’s milk and wheat to help with the condition. source express