A digital booklet about
By Daniel Wong
Table of Contents Introduction
What is eczema?
Types of Eczema
Page 7 - 9
Frequently Asked Questions
Introduction About Me and my goal Hello! My name is Daniel, and I currently have eczema, which is a skin condition that makes your skin quite dry. I am creating this booklet, because my goal is to educate others about this medical condition, and help those who may also suffer from it. I have spent a lot of time planning and creating this product, so that it all the content are credible, informative, and interesting. The language I have used in this digital booklet is rather easy to understand, meaning it is targeted for most ages. I hope you will enjoy this digital booklet, and hopefully, you will learn something from it too!
What is it? Eczema Eczema is a broad term widely used to describe many different types of similar skin conditions. These can range from dyshidrotic eczema (affecting the hands and feet) to contact dermatitis, which causes irritated skin when it comes in contact with an irritant. However, the most common form of eczema is atopic dermatitis, which applies to a group of diseases that can often lead to hay fever or asthma.
Causes Eczema is caused by many different reasons. Families that have a history of allergies and asthma have a much higher chance for their offsprings to inherit the condition (atopic dermatitis). Children have a 60% chance of having this condition if one of their parents have the same condition, and 80% if both do. Although without scientific evidence, eczema is believed to be caused by an overreaction in the immune system to certain irritants (common irritants include wheat, eggs, dust mites). People with eczema also tend to have a reduced oily (lipid) barrier in the skin, which can also lead to dryness. This is because the lipids help prevent water loss in the skin, the loss of the function can greatly dehydrate it.
Symptoms Indications of Eczema There can be many indicators that one has eczema. It is best for a dermatologist to diagnose you, but the following are some of the most common signs. Eczema can be categorized with: • Chronic, dry, red skin that tends to itch, crack, weep or ooze The most common places for inflammation include: • Face • Neck • Creases of the elbow/knee, hands and legs. Flare ups are when the case of eczema becomes especially worse, and there are a lot of factors that can trigger one. The lack of moisture in the skin can cause a lot of discomfort, and thus flare up. Furthermore, being in contact with one’s specific allergen/s will always cause flare ups. Other examples would be dust, dry air, harsh soaps, trigger foods, sweating and stress.
Types of Eczema Atopic Dermatitis As most common form of eczema, atopic dermatitis is usually present at birth, and generally targets those who also have asthma/hay fever, and or if the victim has a family history of such disorders. For atopic dermatitis sufferers, symptoms of redness, itching, cracking are all common. Fortunately, many outgrow this disease, and only a minority of those affected still have it in their adulthood. Sufferers are usually very sensitive to irritants (dust mites, certain foods), and scratch a lot. It can be treated by moisturizing the skin, and using topical steroid creams in moderation. Those who have this type of eczema tend to have a 90% chance to outgrow it at age 5. If it does not happen, it will still most likely be outgrown by age 30.
Contact Dermatitis Contact dermatitis is a rash that happens when the affected victim comes in contact with the specific allergen.. There are 2 different types of contact dermatitis: Irritant and allergic. Irritant contact dermatitis is when a rash develops after the allergen comes in contact with the skin. Allergic contact dermatitis, on the other hand, is a rash that develops only in those who have developed an allergic sensitivity to the allergen. The allergen isnâ€™t necessarily irritating, nor toxic. Treatments include using cold water to control the itch, drying the affected area/s, and applying topical steroids (usually for 2-3 weeks). However, as mentioned, if the treatment is rendered impractical, then oral steroids are used, (also for 2-3 weeks), until the rash is gone.
Seborrheic Dermatitis Seborrheic dermatitis is one of the most common chronic inflammations of the skin. Flare ups include an eczema-like symptom, which often affect parts of the head, and torso. Causes of this condition are not clear, as some think that oily skin could be the cause, yet others believe it is a fungal condition, because many patients have excessive growth of skin yeast. Treatments for seborrheic dermatitis are shampoos with one or more of the ingredients: selenium sulfide, antifungal antibiotics, tar, and zinc pyrithione. Seborrheic dermatitis is incurable, but rather easy to manage and control.
Natural Treatments Antioxidants Antioxidants are a combination of minerals, nutrients, vitamins and more. They are very important in the treatment for Eczema and other chronic conditions, because they help boost our immune systems. Furthermore, antioxidants repair damaged cells that are caused by free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecule, which attack other stable molecules to gain the electron to be stable. The now new unstable molecule will do the same, resulting in a chain reaction. When there are too many free radicals, and too little antioxidants, there will be damages to the body. Antioxidants are useful, because they help donate their electron, which in turn will neutralize free radicals, and stopping the cycle. They can prevent cardiovascular diseases, cancer, help with eczema, etc. Vegetables, fruits and many other foods have an abundance of antioxidants A diet with foods that contain antioxidants are beneficial to someone with eczema, as there is no proven research that suggests too much of it will have side effects.
Natural Treatments Omega 3 Essential fatty acids Omega 3 essential fatty acids are proven to help with many aspects of our body, one of which includes healthy skin. They are not naturally produced by our body, and so the only way to get them is from our diet. One of the main functions of this is that it reduces inflammation, a common aspect of chronic diseases. It comes in 3 different categories: APA, DHA and EPA. APA sources of omega 3 only come from plant sources, such as flaxseed, and hemp seeds. ALA are an inferior source, compared to DHA and EPA, because it is only partially converted to omega 3 essential fatty acids. DHA and EPA generally come from fatty fishes and algae, such as salmon and tuna.
Natural Treatments Diet and Natural oil With the previous two topics explained, now comes the most important natural treatment: dietary change. It is proven that diet can directly affect the eczema suffererâ€™s skin. As a general rule, one should eliminate, or limit the intake of processed foods (chips, instant foods, packaged foods with preservatives). On the contrary, as previously mentioned, vegetables provide an abundance of antioxidants, and fatty fishes such as tuna and salmon contain a lot of omega 3. Find out what you like, and make sure to include the healthy foods in your life to create a balanced diet. For oils, many cold pressed oils (meaning that it was treated without the use of heat, thus preserving its best qualities) can help alleviate the symptoms of eczema. Extra virgin olive oil is praised for its moisturizing qualities, and many more. Flaxseed oil and almond oils are also viable foods that you can use for both ingestion and topical application. Due to the fact that oils are very thick, they can maintain moisture a lot better than most over the counter moisturizers, especially for those who have extremely dry skin.
Budwig Protocol The next type of dietary change is utilizing ones created by others. One very famous example would be the Budwig Diet/Protocol, created by Johanna Budwig, a Nobel Prize nominee. The diet uses a specific recipe that requires specific materials. A full explanation and recipe can be found on http:// www.budwigcenter.com. No diet works for everyone, so it is recommended that one shouldnâ€™t give up if results are not evident from one specific diet.
Western Treatments Antihistamines Histamines (a type of chemical) are produced by the body when it comes in contact with an allergen, whether it be dust mites, honey, or pet dander etc. When a lot of histamines are produced, one can have hives, stuffy nose, itchy eyes and more. Therefore, the first line of defense for many sufferers of eczema is to use antihistamine pills, which can greatly reduce the symptoms of a flare up, and thus calm the skin. This treatment is extremely common in many western countries and clinics/hospitals that utilize western treatments. Usually, when and if the antihistamine doesnâ€™t work, then one would use topical steroids.
Topical Steroids Topical steroids have always been a popular treatment for eczema. It has been used for over 50 years to treat a variety of skin disorders. These steroids are usually classified into 3 groups: ointment (most powerful), cream, lotion (least powerful). Examples include hydrocortisone cream, corticosteroids etc. Although useful when used in short periods, it is best to avoid these creams, because one can easily become addicted to it, and thus require stronger dosages of the steroid, eventually fully relying on it. A prime example of a topical steroid cream is the 0.1% hydrocortisone cream, prescribed in various countries around the world, and praised for its ability to calm a flare up.
Moisturizer One of the most crucial treatment for eczema is moisturizing the skin, and preventing it from being dry, and thus very itchy. Moisturizers are necessary for hydrating the skin. For the best moisturizers, choose ones without too many non natural ingredients, and remember that although some brands are very well known and used, it doesnâ€™t necessarily mean that it is good. Experiment with what works for your specific skin, and what doesnâ€™t (such as when rashes develop).
Herbal Treatments Herbal Remedies Although related to the natural treatments, herbal remedies for eczema is somewhat different. Different for each individual, many herbs have been used to provide relief to those suffering from the medical condition. Examples of possible effective herbs include ginger, comfrey, milk thistle seeds, and borage. For example, if one has scaling skin, burdock leaves are useful, especially when combined with red clover, yellow dock and cleavers to make a tea. Then, the tea can be consumed, or used topically. Furthermore, studies have shown that evening primrose oil has successfully proven to be beneficial for many eczema sufferers, as it relieves symptoms such as itching, redness, edema (which is a wound that secretes fluids similar to oozing). As a major herbal treatment, evening primrose oil is effective for eczema, because they can have up to 25% of essential fatty acids, and omega 6 EFAs. These are crucial to maintaining healthy skin in general, and even more important for those with eczema. Due to the fact that each individual may respond positively to one type of herb, and negatively to another, it is important that one try different remedies for themselves to see what works and what doesnâ€™t.
Complications Physically On the physical aspect, eczema brings in multiple complications. The cracked and dry skin have higher risk of skin infection. This, however, could be much worse if one doesnâ€™t use the proper treatments (e.g. emollients, topical steroids). The most common infection is staphylococcus aureus, or also known as a staph infection. The staph infection can cause redness, oozing fluid (then crusting), and in more severe cases, high temperatures. Furthermore, herpes simplex virus can be developed (causing cold sores), and it can cause areas of painful eczema, high temperature and multiple blisters that can leave open sores.
Psychologically Not only does eczema affect the sufferer physically, but in many cases, it can also cause psychological problems. Bullying is a major problem for those having eczema, as it can be rather traumatic and hard to deal with (especially for younger children). Thus, if one does happen to feel this way, they should seek support, whether it is from a teacher, parent/s, or support groups. Another psychological factor that comes into play is the sleep disturbance, because many children (or even adults) have their sleep patterns disrupted. Therefore, their moods and behaviors may take a tole, and thus lead to poorer performance academically. If one faces this problem, they should contact their teacher to address this issue. Lastly, eczema can be devastating to oneâ€™s self confidence and image. Many children and adults find it hard to cope with their condition, which can hinder oneâ€™s social skills. Thus, support is crucial to solving this issue, along with a positive mindset.
Eczema, although seemingly very challenging to deal with (especially mentally and psychologically), is actually not that problematic. With the right mindset, one can learn to cope with the condition. It is not fatal, albeit the discomfort can be quite notable. Furthermore, current medical treatments can easily provide symptom relief, and with the medical boundaries ever expanding, there is hope for a cure in the foreseeable future. However, at the moment, one can avoid their triggers in many situations, which can also provide relief.
FAQ Is Eczema Contagious? No, eczema is definitely not contagious, meaning one cannot receive it through direct contact with anything, such as a washroom, or from school. Mostly, atopic dermatitis is inherited at birth, and also hereditary (passed down from parents).
Is there a cure for eczema? As of now, there is no known cure. On a positive note, medical technologies in treating eczema are rapidly advancing. However, right now, the best treatments for the condition are still lifestyle changes. These include regularly checking up with a dermatologist, following a skin care regimen specific to oneâ€™s needs, and using medications (especially moisturizers/emollients to relieve itching).
Can one outgrow eczema? Eczema is one of a few medical conditions that have the potential to be outgrown. Atopic dermatitis is in fact a rather common skin disorder for children. However, many outgrow it by puberty, but there is still a possibility that one might have to deal with the condition for the rest of their lives. Despite such, many find that the severity of their case is much milder in their adult years, as opposed to when they were a teenager.
How Serious is Eczema? Despite eczema being non life-threatening, it can create complications in daily life. The constant itching create open wounds that can become infected, and thus cause other medical issues. Furthermore, the itch scratch cycle can have a toll on a personâ€™s sleep patterns, and thus affect their work or school performance. Furthermore, some might find that they have lower self esteem due to being embarrassed about the way their skin looks.
FAQ Cont. Does Stress make my eczema worse? There is no proven direct relationship between stress and eczema. As each person is different with their reaction to stress, it is difficult to come to a conclusion. However, many sufferers do find that under stress, their skin might have more flare ups.
Can the sun make my eczema better? Yes, a lot of people find that after being under the sun, their skin improves. This is due to the UV radiation provided by the sun, which can reduce the inflammation of oneâ€™s skin. However, sunbathing should be done with caution, as too much can result in sunburn, or a higher risk of developing skin cancer.
Can i go swimming with eczema? Yes, those suffering from eczema can go swimming. For swimming pools, many find chlorine in most pools irritating to the skin, and thus make the eczema worse. On the contrary, sea water is known for its benefits for the skin. Therefore, one should avoid swimming in swimming pools if they find chlorine to worsen the skin, and instead, swim in the ocean more often.
Bibliography Bibliography "Antihistamines for Allergies: Types and Side Effects." WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 06 Jan. 2014. "Atopic Eczema - Complications." NHS. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Jan. 2014. "Budwig Guide." Budwig Center. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Jan. 2014. Cole, Gary W., MD. "Atopic Dermatitis." MedicineNet. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Jan. 2014. Cole, Gary W., MD. "Contact Dermatitis." MedicineNet. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Jan. 2014. The Dangers Of Chronic Scratching. Digital image. ScratchMeNot Blog. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Jan. 2014. Deane, Peter M. G., and Robert H. Schwartz. Coping with Allergies. New York: Rosen Pub. Group, 1999. Print. "Eczema and Your Skin." WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 04 Jan. 2014. "Evening Primrose Oil." University of Maryland Medical Center. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Jan. 2014. Evening Primrose Oil. Digital image. The Echolife Blog. N.p., 18 Apr. 2010. Web. 06 Jan. 2014. Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Digital image. The Essential Ingredient. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Jan. 2014. "FAQs About Eczema." Bupa. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Jan. 2014. "Foods, Antioxidants, Vitamins, & Supplements for Immune System Health." WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 06 Jan. 2014. "Frequently Asked Questions about Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis)." Armenian Medical Network. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Jan. 2014. "Frequently Asked Questions About Eczema." Eczema Net. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Jan. 2014. Fresh Canadian Salmon. Digital image. Shop Fresh Seafood. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Jan. 2014. Friedlander, Mark P., and Terry M. Phillips. The Immune System: Your Body's Disease-fighting Army. Minneapolis, MN: Lerner Publications, 1998. Print. How Do Antioxidants Work And What Foods Contain Antioxidants? Digital image. Secrets of Healthy Eating. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Jan. 2014.
Bibliography Cont. Bibliography LeVert, Suzanne. Teens Face to Face with Chronic Illness. New York, NY: J. Messner, 1993. Print. Libal, Autumn. Chained: Youth with Chronic Illness. Broomall, PA: Mason Crest, 2004. Print. "Omega-3 Fatty Acids Facts." WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 03 Jan. 2014. Scratching. Digital image. Wikihow. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Jan. 2014. Smiling Baby. Digital image. Topwalls. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Jan. 2014. Stokes, Trevor. 'Contagious Itching' More Common among Neurotics. Digital image. Fox News. FOX News Network, 13 Nov. 2012. Web. 06 Jan. 2014. Stรถppler, Melissa Conrad, MD. "Eczema." Onhealth. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Jan. 2014. Stรถppler, Melissa Conrad, MD. "Eczema Prognosis." Onhealth. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Jan. 2014. "Topical Corticosteroids: Myths & Facts." National Eczema. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Jan. 2014. "Understanding Free Radicals and Antioxidants." Health Check Systems. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Jan. 2014. "Using Herbs To Treat Eczema." Every Green Herb. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Jan. 2014. "What Is Eczema?" Medical News Today. MediLexicon International, 20 July 2009. Web. 06 Jan. 2014. Yau, Jacky Siu Fan, Dr. "Eczema FAQ." E-mail interview. 15 Dec. 2013.
Here is my personal project product, which is a digital booklet about eczema. Hopefully, you will find the information helpful, and enjoy!...