To find out more about eczema and how to treat it – Asian Sunday spoke to GPs at The Online Clinic.

There’s nothing worse than being unable to sleep because your skin is inflamed, itchy and painful. It’s estimated that eczema affects up to 15 million people in the UK. I went to speak to a doctor from The Online Clinic to get some top tips on what eczema is and how to deal with it.

Dr Elizabeth Kershaw-Yates is a GP with first-hand experience of the kind of issues eczema can cause. It can be known by many different names and have many different forms. For example, atopic eczema is an allergic type skin disease often found in people with asthma, hay fever etc. However, all ‘eczemas’ consist of dry itchy skin, often red in colour and incredibly uncomfortable.

It can start in childhood and can be severe enough to require hospital led care, however much of it can be managed by your GP. If you suspect you have eczema be sure to visit your doctor to get a proper diagnosis.

What you can do to relieve, treat and prevent symptoms

Use an easy, homemade remedy

Sometimes it’s not necessary to go out and get a prescription. Did you know that there is a simple replacement for bath oils and soaps? Take an old pair of tights and fill them with porridge oats. Place it in the bath with you and you have a natural remedy for inflamed skin and eczema. This is great to use as a natural method for treating children’s eczema.

However, stubborn patches of eczema do require steroid cream and these need to be prescribed. If you find that a patch of eczema is weeping, this could be a sign of infection so make sure you see a doctor ASAP.

Avoid soap

The biggest foe of the eczema patient is soap. In order to avoid all irritation, steer clear of soap products. This can inflame and irritate the eczema further. Keep the skin hydrated by substituting it with an emollient soap substitute, and moisturiser. Moisturisers and emollients can be bought over the counter – just speak to your pharmacist.

Watch out for environmental factors.

Environmental factors can play a huge role in the chronicity of the disease so watch out for how dietary, washing powder or perfumed moisturizers might be affecting your skin. If you find that they are inflaming your eczema, try to avoid the offending products.

Eczema in Children

Eczema is common in children – but the good news is that most children do grow out of their eczema, even in its most severe form. If eczema is present in an adult most people can lead a normal life by using moisturisers and making small adjustments to their lifestyle.

If you’re suffering with eczema, they key thing to remember is to avoid anything which will inflame your skin. Try and keep track of what you’re using and how it is affecting you. Avoid soaps and try replacing it with a natural homemade remedy using an old pair of tights and porridge oats. However, the most important thing to do is to moisturise several times a day using an emollient. This will help to soothe the skin and reduce inflammation.

Advice given by Dr Elizabeth Kershaw-Yates, GP and one of the medical team at TheOnlineClinic: