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Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a common inflammatory skin condition, affecting about one in 10 adults and up to one in five children worldwide.

Skin specialist Gavin Ong said: “Although we have gained much knowledge about atopic eczema over the years, we still do not fully understand this complex skin disorder.”

It is a chronic dry skin condition. In mild cases, the skin is scaly, red and itchy. If severe, the skin can weep, crust, blister or bleed.

It affects one in five school-going children in Singapore, and up to six in 10 patients have the condition within the first year of their lives. Almost nine in 10 suffer from eczema by the age of five.

In recent years, more people have been diagnosed with eczema.

Last year, KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital, on average, saw eight to 10 new cases a day, up from five to eight in 2014.

Eczema is also the top skin condition treated at the National University Hospital and the National Skin Centre. More children under the age of five are being treated for it.

Dr Ong said the use of steroids, usually in the topical form, “is the cornerstone of good eczema management in addition to restoring the defective skin barrier with good moisturisers”.

There is no cure for eczema, and he said there is no good medical evidence to suggest that ayurvedic treatment is helpful in the long run.

 

This story was originally published in The New Paper. For more stories like this, head to www.tnp.sg.

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