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Many factors can make atopic eczema worse also. These include heat, dust, stress, pollen, animal fur and contact with irritants such as soap, detergents, bubble baths and shower gels.

Being unwell, for example having a cold, can also see eczema flare up. l Dryness of the skin exacerbates the symptoms, so make sure you keep it well moisturised.

Be sure to shower well after swimming and apply plenty of moisturiser after drying.

Treatments are available to help control the symptoms. These include moisturising creams, topical steroid creams and special hospital treatments. Antibiotics may be needed if the skin becomes infected.

Bandaging can sometimes help, particularly for the arms and legs. "Wet wraps" are cooling bandages that are sometimes helpful for short periods in treating children.

Other treatments include antihistamines, ultraviolet light and diet management.

Wear comfortable clothes made of materials such as cotton and avoid wearing wool next to your skin.

Avoid scratching. It may relieve your itch briefly, but it will make your skin itchier in the long term.

The British Skin Foundation awarded a grant to a study that recently identified the gene that predisposes people to eczema and asthma. It's hoped this will eventually allow scientists to target the root cause of the disease rather than just the symptoms.

To find out more, visit the website

You can call the National Eczema Society helpline on 0870 241 3604
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Oct 1, 2006
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