LAHORE - November’s last week is being observed as International Awareness Week for Atopic Dermatitis (AD), commonly known as eczema, a kind of skin disorder characterized as an inflammatory, relapsing, non-contagious and itchy skin disorder.

 “Eczema affects quality of life as 84% patients have difficulty in falling asleep, while 47% patients feel frustrated. Similarly, 39% are embarrassed about their appearance and 35% are often angry about their appearance,” said Prof Tahir Jameel, HOD Dermatology at Mayo Hospital.

Also, patients with AD had inferior mental health scores compared with those with diabetes or hypertension and inferior social functioning scores compared with patients with hypertension.

“The cause of AD is not known. There is some evidence that genetic factors and probably growing up in a ‘sanitary' environment (hygiene hypothesis) may predispose to the development of AD. Regarding the genetic predisposition, many patients affected by AD have a family history of atopy, such as asthma, food allergies, AD, or hay fever,” he added.

“Some common symptoms of eczema are itching, redness, scaling, bleeding, and cracking. The triggering factors of eczema include 30% by exposure to hot or cold temperature, 20 % children are affected by foods account, and 10% revealed that atopic dermatitis prevalence was due to skin infection,” he added.

Prof Ghulam Mujataba, HOD Dermatology at Nishtar Hospital Multan said, “Total 60% children had atopic dermatitis in their family history, whereas 40% revealed were without any family atopic dermatitis background. “The outbreaks of eczema can be avoided and the severity of this skin disorder can be lessened by avoiding excessive bathing and all types of contact irritants including common soap, detergent, shampoo and cleansing agents.”

He added that though symptoms of AD can be uncomfortable and at times difficult to control, the disease in general can be successfully managed and in some cases even prevented through proper medication.

He suggested, “Using appropriate protective measures including gloves, barrier creams. “Many types of fragrance free emollients and moisturizers will help skin protection, especially in low humidity season. Proper use of moisturizers would improve the skin barrier function of eczema patient while occasional extreme anxiety may need psychological treatment.”