4 Questions My Friends Ask About Eczema

Most of my friends and family don’t really understand what eczema is. My parents do, but that is because they have been dealing with it since I was an infant. Friends, on the other hand, are constantly asking questions.

Constant questions

One friend asked, “Hey, what’s that on your hand?” I replied, “It’s eczema, it’s an autoimmune disease, I’ve had it for a while now.” Their response was simply “Eggs a what?” I just laughed it off and gave a short explanation. I answered a few quick questions, but never had the chance to fully explain them. This is a problem I have a lot of the time, so I’ve decided to answer a few questions that I am often asked.

1. Does it always hurt or itch?

Not always. The itching is often triggered by eating certain foods. Fast food is my worst enemy! Other triggers are sweating, heat, rough clothing, or when it gets too dry. Then there are times when the cause isn’t clear. It only burns when I scratch it. Then it snowballs, because once I start scratching, the burning intensifies, making it feel like a bottomless itch that will never end. It’s painful and why I am so adamant about avoiding trigger foods.

2. Is it contagious?

No, it’s not contagious. The only way for eczema to be contagious is if it got infected by not properly caring for it and then the infecting agent may be contagious. I strive to take very good care of my eczema, so I won’t ruin any food I touch, and you won’t wake up covered with it tomorrow if I come near you.

3. Why can’t you eat fast food?

I’ve had this one asked a lot and it is actually one of the easiest questions for me to answer. It’s filled with chemicals that trigger my eczema. High-fructose corn syrup is one of my worst triggers and almost every fast food place puts in their food. In addition to being a trigger for my eczema, it also makes me feel ill. In general, it’s not good for anyone and I’ve learned the very hard way, that it’s the absolute worst for both my eczema and my health.

4. Why doesn’t it go away when you wash and moisturize it?

Eczema is an autoimmune disease, which means it makes my immune system over-reactive and sensitive to certain foods and drinks. Some rashes go away with a good washing and moisturizing, but not all. I can decrease the chance of future flare-ups, but it is not possible to completely avoid them. My rashes that appear to be permanent often go down and are hardly noticeable to someone who doesn’t know that I have it, but no matter what I do it never completely goes away.

These are just a few of the questions that I am frequently asked. How do you respond when asked the same? It can feel awkward to talk about it, but the more we do, the less people will misunderstand it.

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