Can you name what 30 million Americans have?
Think about a health condition that affects one out of every ten Americans, one out of every 10 Upper Valley residents, one out of every ten of our neighbors, friends, classmates, and colleagues in Windsor, Hanover, Hartland, New London, Thetford, or Lebanon.
What comes to mind?
How about red, itchy, inflamed skin? These are the first signs of a condition called eczema, pronounced eg-zuh-MUH. October is Eczema Awareness Month and it is a good time to talk about a) how normal it is to have it; b) how uncomfortable it can be; and c) what you can do about it.
Let’s start with the basics: eczema is caused by genetics and our environment. In other words, some of the causes of eczema are found inside our bodies; we are born with it. Other causes come from the physical world around us. Metals, stress, soaps and household cleaners, exercise, certain fabrics, and fragrances can all cause eczema flare ups.
It can start as early as infancy, often runs in the family, and affects every demographic: men and women, old and young, black, white, and brown. Its severity is widely variable, from minor itching to severe sensitivity and serious discomfort. Because it affects the skin, eczema is a visible condition, so in addition to being uncomfortable, flare ups can also make us self-conscious about our appearance.
It would be depressing if the story ended there. Luckily, while eczema is uncomfortable, it is also manageable and there are many treatments options available. Oftentimes, very simple changes in lifestyle can have immediate beneficial impacts. For example, wearing gloves when washing the dishes or taking shorter showers can reduce sensitivity. Developing a routine for moisturizing your skin every day can dramatically improve your skin and minimize eczema flare ups. Identifying the triggers for your eczema flare ups and learning how to avoid them can quickly solve many of the issues that arise. There are also several quality over the counter and prescription treatment options available.
If you think you may have eczema, please call us for an appointment. After an examination, we can recommend a course of treatment that fits you and your lifestyle. There is no better time than now to take control of your eczema.
OCTOBER PROMOTION: Throughout the month, all Vanicream products are 25% off, some of which are useful to treat eczema. Stop into any of our locations during regular business hours for more information.