Medical Conditions

Eczema

Eczema (also known as atopic dermatitis) is a recurring, inflammatory, non-contagious skin condition which affects many Australians.  There is no cure, but the symptoms of eczema can be managed.

Symptoms include red, dry, itchy and scaly skin, which may weep, bleed and crust over in severe cases.  In babies and toddlers eczema usually appears on the face, elbows and knees, but in older children and adults the rash generally appears less frequently on the face and more commonly on the hands, neck, inner elbows, backs of the knees and ankles. 

Eczema is not life-threatening, however it can cause significant discomfort and affect the quality of life of the sufferer and their family/carer.  Night-time itching can cause sleepless nights, and severe flare-ups can lead to sufferers being absent from school or work. 

Most eczema sufferers find that their symptoms are made worse by daily triggers such as exposure to hot weather, or environmental irritants such as synthetic clothing, soap, washing powders, chlorinated pools, cosmetics, grasses and so on. 

Treatment options for eczema include:

  • Emollients (moisturisers)
  • Anti-inflammatory topical creams, such as:

    • Topical corticosteroid creams
    • Topical non-steroidal anti-inflammatory creams (such as pimecrolimus cream)

  • Ultraviolet radiation therapy (phototherapy)
  • Dietary changes in some cases

For more information or treatment advice, see your doctor or dermatologist.