The classic symptoms of eczema are dry, reddened skin patches that can sometimes be itchy.
From time to time eczema is caused by an allergic reaction to a chemical or food, but for the most part the cause of eczema is unknown.
Unfortunately eczema cannot be entirely cured, but it can be managed.
There are a few situations to avoid if you want to reduce the chances of your eczema flaring up.
Steer clear of quick temperature changes, heavy sweating, emotional stress and allergens like dust mites, grass pollens and moulds.
There is evidence to suggest that eczema is often passed down in families through generations.
The main treatment options for eczema are emollients, more commonly known as moisturisers. You can get advice on which moisturiser to use from your local chemist or doctor. You may find you will need to try a couple of different types before you get the one that suits you best.
A second form of treatment is antihistamines. Histamines are chemicals produced by our bodies and are responsible for itching and other symptoms of eczema. Antihistamines block the action of histamine and help reduce the symptoms of eczema. Remember that antihistamines can make you drowsy, so take them close to bedtime. Antihistamines are not suitable for infants.
Topical steroids are another option that can be quite effective. These come in various strengths so it is very important to get one appropriate for the area of skin you are treating. It is not recommended to take these for extended periods of time, so make sure you speak with your doctor before commencing a course.