Health Watch - Itching: Eczema

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This week on Health Watch, we’re talking about itchy skin. Eczema is an inflammation of the skin that causes itching and scaling. It also may leave sufferers vulnerable to infection, and an old remedy may be a big help.

Dr. Kent Aftergut, a dermatologist at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says doctors have been recommending bleach baths for years to ease itching from eczema. Now studies are showing that bleach baths kill the staph bacteria that are present on the skin of most patients with eczema. Antibacterial washes and antibiotics can breed resistant bacteria, but bleach kills bacteria in a way that bacteria can’t become resistant to. Dr. Aftergut recommends starting by soaking for 15 minutes twice a week in a bath with a capful of bleach in a tub full of water. This may also help athletes and people who go to gyms avoid infection. Talk to your doctor before you try a bleach bath.

Visit to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services in dermatology.


August 2009

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