Eczema Quiz

Eczema (atopic dermatitis) is a very common allergic skin condition. It can be troublesome because of itchy skin, making it difficult to perform daily activities and sleep.

Eczema is a manageable condition, regardless of your age. There are many treatments currently available and future therapies are on the way. With careful evaluation and follow up with your allergist/Immunologist, you can have a high quality of life and enjoy all of your activities.

This quiz offers information on common things that make eczema worse, understanding how to avoid them and key pointers to more effective management.

Question 1
Eczema most commonly starts in young children before they reach school age.
True
False

True. Eczema usually starts in the first few years of life. Dermatitis that starts in adulthood is more likely to be contact reactions to chemicals in medicines, jewelry or make-up.

Question 2
Eczema commonly affects the back and the groin.
True
False

False. Eczema normally affects areas that are exposed. In young babies it commonly affects the face. In children it commonly affects the wrists, ankles, fronts of the elbows and backs of the knees. In adults eczema is often most troublesome on the hands. Eczema rarely affects the groin, and other causes should be considered if rash affects this area of the body.

Question 3
Eczema is now thought to be due to a leaky skin barrier allowing many irritating chemicals such as dust, foods and pollens through.
True
False

True. Leaky skin, particularly in early childhood, is now thought to allow irritants through and cause the itch and redness.

Question 4
More than half of children whose parents suffer from eczema will also have the disease.
True
False

True. If neither of the child’s parents have eczema then the risk is one in 10. If one parent is affected the risk is 50% and it increases to 70% if both parents have a history of suffering from eczema. In some patients with ancestors from the United States, Northern Europe and the Far East, eczema is inherited because of a faulty skin gene called filaggrin.

Question 5
Allergy tests, such as skin prick tests and blood tests are very useful in diagnosing the cause of eczema.
True
False

False. These allergy tests may help in the diagnosis of allergies where there is an immediate reaction – occurring within a few minutes to an hour of contact. However, they are more likely than not to produce false results if used in the diagnosis of what may be causing eczema flares.

Question 6
Foods are a common cause of eczema flares in adults.
True
False

False. Foods rarely cause eczema flares in adults. They may cause flares in young infants and children. The most common foods triggering eczema in children are dairy products, soy products, wheat and eggs. Many children will outgrow these food allergies as they get older. Foods should not be taken out of a child’s diet without first obtaining advice from a healthcare professional. Furthermore, healthcare professionals can also provide advice as to when these foods might be reintroduced back into the child’s diet.

Question 7
Moisturizers are the mainstay of treatment for children with mild eczema.
True
False

True. Moisturizers, particularly oil-based moisturizers, help to provide a better barrier and also keep the skin moist. Creams are less effective and the chemicals in some creams may cause irritation. The choice of moisturizer is best left to the patient and their family, as personal preference is the best way of ensuring that the patient is happy with the medicine and uses it regularly.

Question 8
Mild topical steroids such as 1% hydrocortisone ointment can only be used for up to a week at a time, otherwise they will cause skin damage.
True
False

False. Topical steroids come in different strengths. One percent hydrocortisone is a mild potency steroid, which can be used regularly twice a day on inflamed skin without a significant risk of skin thinning or other side effects. More potent steroids should be used for up to a week or two unless otherwise directed by your healthcare professional. Potent steroids should not be applied to the face and neck because of the risk of skin damage in these more delicate areas of the body.

Question 9
Antihistamines are useful for treating the itchy skin in eczema.
True
False

False. Although antihistamines may be helpful for allergic reactions associated with hives and superficial swellings, standard antihistamines—often also used in the treatment of hay fever—do not reduce the itch in patients with eczema.

Question 10
Patients who have crusty, oozing painful skin which is not responding to normal creams and ointments, should just keep applying the treatment but more frequently.
True
False

False. Crusty, oozing painful skin suggests that there is a bacterial infection that is now causing the inflammation. This may have been caused by the scratching and damage to the skin allowing bacteria to take hold. It is not because the patient has suddenly become immune to the eczema treatment. See your doctor for re-evaluation as antibiotics may be required to treat the infection and bring the eczema back under control.

Remember to bring all medications (over-the-counter and prescription), including topical ones (creams, lotions, ointments), to your visit with your allergist/immunologist.

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Learn more about eczema symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and management.
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