Eczema is a health condition in which the skin gets extremely dry, leading to itchy patches. A disciplined lifestyle can help manage the symptoms, but since this is a chronic disease, it can get increasingly uncomfortable and overwhelming. Therefore, loved ones should provide those with eczema a safe space to share their troubles and educate others on the subject. Here are some facts about eczema to create more awareness and empathy.
Eczema is not “just a rash”
Unlike what most people falsely assume, eczema is more than just a rash. It is a chronic condition that needs extreme care and attention to be managed on a daily basis. This involves staying away from environmental triggers, soaps, shampoos, and any product that may lead to unprecedented flare-ups. Even food choices need a lot of screening.
Itchy skin can cause insomnia
Eczema flare-ups can also occur during the night. When that happens, it gets incredibly uncomfortable for patients to sleep due to itchy skin. This sleep disruption affects anywhere between 33% to 87.1% of adults and close to 83% of children with the condition. A lack of sleep, in turn, causes other complications like stress and irritability.
Poor hygiene is not the cause
Eczema is an auto-immune disease and does not occur due to poor hygiene. However, those already suffering from the condition may experience flare-ups due to improper hygiene. Therefore, patients need extreme care when it comes to cleanliness. Choosing shampoo, soap, cleaning products, and even clothes can be difficult, and keeping a checklist of things can get exhausting.
It affects mental health
While eczema is a physical condition, its complications and flare-ups can easily lead to stress and anxiety, not to mention the taboo around the disease and social perception, which can give rise to alienation and loneliness. It is important for patients to have a support group that helps them navigate through the complicated emotions they may experience while battling the disease.
Some foods can trigger an episode
Apart from environmental factors, certain foods can cause eczema flare-ups. Oranges, mandarins, tomatoes, wheat or gluten products, soy, grapes, broccoli, eggs, cow’s milk, and cheese can worsen the symptoms in some people. So, patients are advised to have a “safe foods” list handy when outside to prevent an unpleasant experience.