Not just a simple allergy to dust, house dust mites, pets or moulds.
Many people and children with eczema have a simple allergy to dust, house dust mites, pets or moulds. With allergy testing it is possible to identify specific triggers.
Eczema, Mites, Pets and Homes
House dust mites thrive in a warm, humid environment such as modern, well insulated, centrally heated homes; their main habitat is bed mattresses, carpets and soft furnishings. We know that they die in very low or very high temperatures and where the humidity is low. Cooler, well ventilated homes discourage inhalant allergies. Some patients have made the observation that their severe eczema, previously thought to be a permanent or irreversible problem, actually improves within days of arriving in any Mediterranean country or high in the mountains, where humidity is low, only to relapse on their return to the UK. This confirms that eczema can partly or totally be reversed if we could effectively control the quality of the air we breathe.
Eczema and Diet
Contrary to popular belief, eczema is not always caused by allergens in the air. Some people find that their symptoms get worse after eating certain foods or additives and get better when they leave them out of their diet for 1-2 weeks. On the basis of this observation, we can define by dietary tests, an elimination & challenge process which aims to identify specific foods, responsible for one's eczema. It is called Type-B, delayed or masked allergy and is a common cause of eczema as well as asthma and rhinitis. This kind of allergy is very different to peanut allergy, which is fast and potentially life threatening.
Eczema and Chemicals
Several modern day chemicals have been associated with contact eczema, which varies from the so-called "housewives' hands"(caused by washing up liquids), allergy to latex (often affecting health professionals using latex gloves) to nickel sensitivity (from contact with cheap silver jewellery or foods high in nickel). It is relatively easy to pin point the specific substance causing this type of eczema.
Treatment for Eczema
Once the cause of eczema has been identified then the appropriate course of action will be discussed. This could be simple avoidance, if specific food items are the cause. If inhalants are the problem, such as house dust mite or pet dander, then we have a choice of safe and effective methods of desensitisation, such as the "low-dose" immunotherapy and the Enzyme Potentiated Desensitisation.
Clinical Trials re: Eczema
The following is a sample of papers to give a flavour of some of the evidence to support the view that allergy, environmental medicine and nutritional medicine has a major role to play in the modern medical practice.
Double Blind Controlled Cross-Over Trial of an Antigen-Avoidance Diet in Atopic Eczema
Atherton D.J. et al., Great Ormond Street. Lancet: Feb 1978; pp401-3. With the avoidance of just two foods (milk and eggs), 14 out of 20 children improved. View article
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