Know the basics

What is eczema?

Eczema is a skin condition caused by an inflammation of the skin. Typically, eczema makes skin become itchy, red, and dry – even cracked and leathery. It can appear on any part of the body.

It can be managed by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

Know the symptoms

What are the symptoms of eczema?

The typical symptoms of eczema are:

  • Patches of chronically itchy, dry, thickened skin, usually occur on the hands, neck, face, and legs (but it can occur anywhere). In children, the inner creases of the knees and elbows are often inflamed.
  • If scratched, the dry patches of skin and open sores with crusts may develop and get infected.

Moreover, complications of eczema will happen if you do not treat your symptoms. They include but not limited to asthma and hay fever, skin infections, eye problems, irritant hand dermatitis, allergic contact, and dermatitis.

When should I see my doctor?

You should go to the doctor if:

  • You feel uncomfortable;
  • You usually lose sleep or are distracted from your daily routines;
  • Your skin is painful and infected (red streaks, pus, yellow scabs);
  • You have tried self-care steps without success;
  • You think the condition is affecting your eyes or vision.

If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.

Know the causes

What are the causes of eczema?

The causes of eczema include:

  • Stress;
  • Contact with irritating substances;
  • Heat and sweat;
  • Cold, dry climates;
  • Dry skin.

Know the risk factors

What increases my risk for eczema?

Factors that get people at increased risk of developing the condition:

  • A family history of eczema, allergies, hay fever or asthma;
  • Being a health care worker, which is linked to hand dermatitis.
  • Living in urban areas;
  • Having parents with a high level of education;
  • Having attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Understand the diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How is eczema diagnosed?

Your doctor will likely make a diagnosis by examining your skin and reviewing your medical history. The doctor may also use patch testing or other tests to rule out other skin diseases or identify conditions that accompany your eczema.

How is eczema treated?

Medicines

Common medicines for eczema treatment include:

  • Hydrocortisone;
  • Antihistamines;
  • Corticosteroids.

Therapies

  • Wet dressings: an effective, intensive treatment for severe atopic dermatitis involves wrapping the affected area with topical corticosteroids and wet bandages.
  • Light therapy: the simplest form of light therapy (phototherapy) involves exposing your skin to controlled amounts of natural sunlight. But, phototherapy is not used for infants and young children as it can increase the risk of skin cancer.
  • Treatment for stress: counseling may help children and young adults who are extremely embarrassed or frustrated by their skin condition.
  • Relaxation, behavior modification or biofeedback: these approaches may help you with habitual scratching.

Lifestyle changes & Home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage eczema?

Applying the following tips will help you to reduce the risk of eczema:

  • Take an oral allergy or anti-itch medication;
  • Take a bleach bath;
  • Apply an anti-itch cream or calamine lotion to the affected area;
  • Moisturize your skin at least twice a day;
  • Avoid scratching;
  • Apply cool, wet compresses;
  • Take a warm bath;
  • Choose mild soaps without dyes or perfumes;
  • Use a humidifier;
  • Wear cool, smooth-textured cotton clothing;
  • Treat stress and anxiety.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Review Date: January 4, 2017 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017

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