Erythema Annulare Centrifugum (EA) is a common skin condition characterized by redness, scaling, itching and crusting at the site of exposure. EA can occur anywhere on the body but most commonly occurs around the face, hands or feet. The disease may cause chronic pain and itchy sores which are often painful enough to prevent normal daily activities such as working with your hands or even sleeping. People with EA have been known to die from the disease.
The exact causes of EAC are not fully understood. However, scientists believe that it results from an allergic reaction caused by contact with certain microorganisms found on the skin.
There is no cure for EAC and treatment involves keeping the affected area clean and dry while avoiding direct contact with these organisms.
Symptoms of EAC include: Redness, swelling, itchiness and burning sensation around the exposed areas of skin.
Some of the possible triggers of EAC include: Contact with moldy or damp clothing, dirt, dust mites, insects and animals.
In some cases, other conditions like eczema may be present. If so, they may need to be treated separately.
Some of the home remedies that can be used to treat EAC include:
Keeping the area clean and dry.
Use of non-allergic soap to prevent further skin irritation.
Use of hydrocortisone cream to reduce itching and burning sensation.
Wearing light clothes to prevent heat build-up.
Wear impermeable gloves when working with wet soil.
Keep your bedroom clean and well ventilated.
Use of air conditioner or Dehumidifiers to keep the air dry.
Washing bedding and clothes on high heat to kill all the mites and mite eggs.
If you have animals, wash their bedding and litter daily and change it at least weekly. Discard old litter in sealed plastic bags.
Use of anti-fungal powders, sprays and ointments to prevent skin infections.
Treatment of erythema with steroids is also helpful in relieving skin redness and irritation.
One of the most effective ways to prevent EAC is to avoid direct contact with the allergen known to cause EAC in your body. This can be achieved by taking care of your personal hygiene.
However, in some cases, you may still be exposed to these allergens hence it is important to seek medical advice as soon as possible.
It is important to see a doctor at the onset of any EAC symptoms. EAC usually starts with a small patch of redness on the skin that may be itchy or painful and then spreads all over the skin, making normal activities very difficult.
It is also important not to scratch this skin as this can lead to skin infection and permanent scarring. If it is left untreated, it can lead to pain, disfigurement and long term disability.
EA is not life-threatening but can make life very difficult to live with.
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Sources & references used in this article:
Erythema annulare centrifugum by GS Bressler, RE Jones Jr – Journal of the American Academy of …, 1981 – Elsevier
Erythema annulare centrifugum: results of a clinicopathologic study of 73 patients by W Weyers, C Diaz-Cascajo… – The American journal of …, 2003 – journals.lww.com
Clinicopathologic analysis of 66 cases of erythema annulare centrifugum by KJ Kim, SE Chang, JH Choi, KJ Sung… – The Journal of …, 2002 – Wiley Online Library
A novel therapeutic approach to erythema annulare centrifugum by J Minni, R Sarro – Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 2006 – jaad.org
Reactive erythemas: erythema annulare centrifugum and erythema gyratum repens by SK Tyring – Clinics in dermatology, 1993 – cidjournal.com
Erythema annulare centrifugum: a review of 24 cases with special reference to its association with underlying disease by JM MAHOOD – Clinical and Experimental Dermatology, 1983 – Wiley Online Library
Allergic confirmation that some cases of erythema annulare centrifugum are dermatophytids by OF JILLSON – AMA archives of dermatology and syphilology, 1954 – jamanetwork.com