What is Eczema?
It is the most common and most troublesome of all skin diseases. Eczema is essentially a constitutional disease, resulting from a toxic condition of the system. The disease covers a wide variety of forms, the majority of them being of a chronic variety.
Eczema (atopic dermatitis) is a chronic skin disorder that causes an itchy, red, raised rash that may weep or ooze clear fluid. Eczema is not contagious. Eczema is often worse during infancy and typically improves by early adulthood.
Causes Of Eczema
The causes of eczema are many and varied, and depend on the particular type of eczema that a person has. Atopic eczema is thought to be a hereditary condition, being genetically linked. It is proposed that people with atopic eczema are sensitive to allergens in the environment which are harmless to others. In atopy there is an excessive reaction by the immune system producing inflamed, irritated and sore skin. Associated atopic conditions include asthma and hayfever. Other types of eczema are caused by irritants such as chemicals and detergents, allergens such as nickel, and yeast growths. In later years eczema can be caused by a blood circulatory problems in the legs. The causes of certain types of eczema remain to be explained, though links with environmental factors and stress are being explored.
Symptoms Of Eczema
- Itching, dryness of the skin and a red, raised rash.
- Tiny blisters may appear which break and crust over (these lesions may be prone to infection).
- In children, eczema appears most often on the face, scalp, buttocks, thighs, and torso.
- In adults, eczema most commonly affects the neck, inside the elbows, and backs of the knees.
Types Of Eczema
- atopic eczema
- Infantile seborrhoeic eczema
- Adult seborrhoeic eczema
- Varicose eczema
- Discoid eczema
Treatment Of Eczema
- The best way to deal with eczema is to cleanse the bloodstream and the body. The treatment should start with a fast on orange juice and water from five to ten days, depending on the severity and duration of the trouble. This fasting will help to eliminate toxic waste from the body and lead to substantial improvement. In some cases, the condition may worsen in the beginning of the fast due to the increased elimination of waste matter through the skin. But as fasting continues, improvement will manifest itself.
- After the juice fast, the patient may adopt an exclusive milk diet with beneficial results. In this regimen, he shoul? take a quarter litre of milk every hour on the first day, every three quarters Of an hour on the second day and every half and hour on the third day and onwards. The total quantity of milk consumed each day may be six litres. This exclusive milk diet may be continued for four to six weeks or longer, if necessary. Many cases of eczema have ben cured or greatly improved by using the milk diet, following the juice fast.
- Fruits, saIt-free raw or steamed vegetables with whole meal bread or chappatis may be taken after the exclusive milk diet. Carrot and musk melon are particularly beneficial. Cocunut oil may be used instead of ghee.
- Steam baths may be taken two or three times a week with great advantage. They are especially valuable while on the exclusive milk diet. Neutral immersion baths lasting for 45 minutes to an hour, will also be helpful.
- In cases of acute eczema, cold compress or cold, wet fomentations are beneficial. The affected part should be. wrapped with a thick soft cloth. The cloth should be moistened with cold water (55°-60° F) every 15 to 30 minutes for two hours at a time. The bandage shouldbe left intact, keeping the cloth cold. There may be intensification of itching or pain initially but this will soon subside. Acold compress may be applied twice daily for a week or so.
- Coconut oil may be. applied to the portions with eczema. It will help the skin to stay soft.
- Walking or jogging should be resorted to in order to activate the bowels.
- Sunbathing is also beneficial as it kills the harmful bacteria, and should be resorted to early in the morning, in the first light of dawn. .A light mudpack applied over the sites of the eczema is also helpful. The pack should be applied for an hour at a time and should be repeated twice or thrice a day.
- A cool-mist humidifier may be used in the bedroom. The humidifier should be kept clean at all times.
- Clothing and bedding should be washed in a mild detergent.
- For children and infants, keep their nails trimmed short to minimize damage from scratching.
Home Remedies For The Treatment Of Eczema
- The use of musk melon is regarded as the most effective. In this mode of treatment, only musk melons are taken three times during the day for forty days or more.
- Mangoes are considered another effective remedy foreczema. The pulp and skin of the fruit should be ‘simmered in a cup of water for an hour. This should then be strained and applied as a lotion liberally to all effected areas, several times daily.
- The green leaves of finger millet (ragi) are valuable in chronic eczema. The fresh juice of the leaves should be applied over the affected area.
- Certain liquids have also been found useful as washing lotions for cleansing the affected parts. These include water in which margosa (neem) leaves have been boiled, rice starch water obtained by decanting cooked rice and turmeric (haldi) water prepared by boiling water to which turmeric powder has been added.