People with atopic eczema can sometimes develop further physical and psychological problems.
As atopic eczema can cause your skin to become cracked and broken, there's a risk of the skin becoming infected with bacteria. The risk is higher if you scratch your eczema or don't use your treatments correctly.
Signs of a bacterial infection can include:
Your normal symptoms may also get rapidly worse and your eczema may not respond to your regular treatments.
You should see your doctor as soon as possible if you think your or your child's skin may have become infected.
They'll usually prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection, as well as making sure the skin inflammation that led to the infection is well controlled.
Speak to your GP if these don't help or your symptoms get worse.
Once your infection has cleared, your GP will prescribe new supplies of any creams and ointments you're using to avoid contamination. Old treatments should be disposed of.
It's also possible for eczema to become infected with the herpes simplex virus, which normally causes Herpes simplex virus . This can develop into a serious condition called eczema herpeticum.
Symptoms of eczema herpeticum include:
Contact your doctor immediately if yoususpect eczema herpeticum. If you can't contact your GP, call NHS 111 or go to your nearest hospital.
If you're diagnosed with eczema herpeticum, you'll be given an antiviral medication called aciclovir.
As well as affecting you physically, atopic eczema may also affect you psychologically.
Preschool children with atopic eczema may be more likely to have behavioural problems such as hyperactivity than children who don't have the condition. They're also more likely to be more dependent on their parents.
School children may experience teasing or bullying if they have atopic eczema. Any kind of bullying can be traumatic and difficult for a child to deal with.
Your child may become quiet and withdrawn. Explain the situation to your child's teacher and encourage your child to tell you how they're feeling.
The National Eczema Society provides information about regional support groups , where you may be able to meet other people living with atopic eczema.
You can also read more about bullying .
Sleep-related problems are common among people with eczema.
A lack of sleep may affect mood and behaviour. It may also make it more difficult to concentrate at school or work.
If your child has problems sleepingbecause of theireczema,they may fall behind with their schoolwork. Itmight helpto lettheir teacher know about their condition so it can be taken into consideration.
During a severeeczema flare-up, your child may need time off from school. This may also affect their ability to keep up with their studies.
Atopic eczema can affect the self-confidence of both adults and children. Children may find it particularly difficult to deal with their condition, which maylead tothem having a poor self-image.
If your child is severely lacking in confidence, it may affect their ability to develop social skills. Support and encouragement will help boost your child's self-confidence and give them a more positive attitude about their appearance.
Speak to your GP if you're concerned your child's eczema is severely affecting their confidence. They may benefit from specialist psychological support.
Atopic eczema (atopic dermatitis) is the most common form of eczema, a condition that causes the skin to become itchy, red, dry and cracked. Atopic eczema is more common in children, often developing before their first birthday.
Atopic eczema causes areas of skin to become itchy, dry, cracked, sore and red. The severity of atopic eczema can vary a lot from person to person. People with mild eczema may only have small areas of dry skin that are occasionally itchy.
People with atopic eczema often have very dry skin because their skin is unable to retain much moisture. This dryness may make the skin more likely to react to certain triggers, causing it to become red and itchy.
Treatments for atopic eczema can help to ease the symptoms. There's no cure, but many children find their symptoms naturally improve as they get older.
People with atopic eczema can sometimes develop further physical and psychological problems. As atopic eczema can cause your skin to become cracked and broken, there's a risk of the skin becoming infected with bacteria.
Ruby was diagnosed with eczema at six weeks old. Her mum, Daniella, explains how they've learned to cope with Ruby's condition.
Battling against eczema since he was a baby, John Fuller has tried just about every treatment option available. John is resigned to living with his condition, but he still has hope.