Allergies and Eczema

Within our society thousands of adults and children suffer from eczema. The most common form of eczema is atopic eczema, which is triggered by allergies.

What is an allergy?

An allergy is the result of an over active immune system. When the immune system identifies a normally harmless substance as a threat to the body it tries to protect the body from it. In so doing the body reacts in a negative way thus resulting in what we know as an allergic reaction.

The substance the immune system is reacting to is known as an allergen and can be anything that you come in contact with. The confusing part is that something that has previously not caused you a problem may become an allergen with continued exposure.

Common allergens

Although anything can cause an allergic reaction the most common allergens for eczema sufferers are pet dander, dust mites, pollen, mold spores, chemicals and some food and medicines.

An allergic reaction will present itself differently in different people depending on the condition from which they suffer. People with asthma will experience respiratory problems when exposed to an allergen whilst people with eczema experience skin irritations when exposed to allergens.

For eczema suffers the skin typically becomes inflamed, red and itchy when exposed to an allergen.

How to control the allergic reaction

Obviously the best thing to do to avoid the allergic reaction is to avoid exposure to the allergen. This is not as easy as it sounds. Often eczema sufferers do not know what allergen or allergens trigger their eczema. Avoidance is therefore impossible.

It is however ideal if the allergen can be determined and removed from the environment. This is invariably a long and drawn out process. To determine allergens are triggering eczema a diary can be kept.

Record everything

Making a note of everything you consume is a useful way of detecting whether there is a significant pattern of reaction to a particular food or foods. Also include any medications taken and creams / oils that are applied. Other significant environmental changes may also be noted (ie weather changes, lawn mowed, new washing detergent used).

By regularly looking over the diary significant patterns may be determined and an allergen may be detected. Removal of the allergen should show an improvement in the condition of the skin.

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