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Eczema: Just The Facts

Eczema is a common skin problem

It causes the skin to become red, irritated and itchy. Itchy patches of eczema can appear on the backs of knees, ankles, elbows, hands, face and neck although any part of the body can be affected.

Eczema varies from person to person; some may have small patches whereas others may be covered with eczema. In severe cases the skin may appear “raw”, bleed or weep. It is a long term condition which needs managing. It is not contagious.

The best way to manage eczema is to moisturise – a lot. You can get special moisturisers called emollients, and when your eczema gets really bad you might get a course of topical steroid cream to apply.

What causes eczema?

It’s all about genetic, immunological and environmental factors. Put more simply, when you have eczema the skin does not provide the same level of protection as healthy skin, and moisture is lost causing the skin to become very dry, this means external irritants can penetrate the body more easily, causing inflammation.

Eczema and Sport

Eczema should not interfere with sporting activities. Sweating can irritate eczema, but this can be reduced by wearing loose cotton clothing and exercising in cool weather. In hot weather try to keep cool by taking regular breaks and drinking plenty of fluid.

Swimming should be avoided during a flare-up. If you do swim always use emollient before getting into the water, shower afterwards and then reapply emollient.

How to get help

If you have any more questions on this area or would like to speak to somebody about this topic, have a look at the links or search for your local services in the blue box below. Alternatively you can always contact your public health nurse.

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Find out what services are available to you in your area. Remember your school nurse is always there to give you confidential help and support.