November is Healthy Skin Month, but if you have eczema, you may not feel like you have much to celebrate. Eczema is a chronic, red, itchy skin rash also referred to as atopic dermatitis.
What Causes Eczema?
There is a strong link between allergies and eczema. There’s also a genetic component to eczema. If you’re a parent with seasonal allergies or asthma, your child is at greater risk for developing eczema. Furthermore, children who have eczema have a higher chance than other kids of developing allergies and asthma. In fact, studies have shown that 35 percent of people who had eczema as children went on to develop allergies and asthma in adulthood.
The Allergy-Eczema Link
Allergy-related eczema starts with a chemical known as histamine. When your body encounters allergens in nature (pollens, molds, pet dander, etc.), it should simply ignore them. Instead, it mistakes them for invading germs and tries to fight them off by releasing histamine into the body. Histamine leads to all kinds of problems including swelling and irritation of the skin—a.k.a. eczema.
If you have allergy-related eczema, you can try topical ointments, but that rarely solves the problem. Once you stop slathering them on the affected area, the eczema will crop right back up again.
A more long term solution is to seek out allergy treatment—either through shots or under-the-tongue drops (like we offer at the Family Allergy Clinic).
So make National Healthy Skin Month your excuse to get to the bottom of your eczema! See an allergist today if you suspect you have allergy-related eczema.