Eczema: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment
People who experience symptoms of eczema should see a doctor or dermatologist. Eczema can indicate a new allergy, so it is important to determine what is causing the reaction. Eczema can also increase the likelihood of staph infections and have a severe effect on a person's mental health. A doctor can recommend a treatment plan to manage symptoms and flare-ups. There is no specific test to diagnose most types of eczema. The doctor will want to know the individual's personal and family medical history. They will also ask about recent exposures to potential allergens and irritants.
It is essential that people let the doctor know if they have hay fever or asthma. The doctor may also perform a patch test, which involves pricking a person's skin with a needle that contains potential irritants and allergens. A patch test can determine whether or not someone has contact dermatitis.
There is no cure for eczema, so treatment involves managing the symptoms and trying to prevent further flare-ups. People with eczema will also benefit from working with their doctor or dermatologist to identify what triggers or worsens their symptoms. Avoiding specific triggers or allergens can help to prevent or minimize flare-ups.
Article last reviewed by Wed 11 July All references are available in the References tab. Atopic dermatitis.
Dalgard, F. The psychological burden of skin diseases: A cross-sectional multicentre study among dermatological out-patients in 13 European countries. Journal of Investigative Dermatology , 4 , — Dermatologists caution that atopic dermatitis is a strong precursor to food allergies. Discoid Eczema [Fact sheet]. Dyshidrotic eczema: Who gets and causes. Harkins, C. The microevolution and epidemiology of Staphylococcus aureus colonization during atopic eczema disease flare. Journal of Investigative Dermatology , 2 , — Nummular dermatitis. Pompholyx eczema [Fact sheet].
Seborrheic dermatitis. Varicose eczema [Fact sheet]. What is eczema? MediLexicon, Intl.
What is Eczema?
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Atopic dermatitis is the most common form of eczema. Contact dermatitis is a reaction of the skin to certain substances. Image credit: Digitalgadget, , July Everything you need to know about allergic eczema. Allergic eczema, or contact dermatitis, is a type of eczema that occurs when a person comes into contact with an allergen or irritant. Learn more about it here. Dyshidrotic eczema may cause small blisters. Discoid eczema causes characteristic disc-shaped patches.
Seborrheic dermatitis can affect the scalp.
Varicose eczema often occurs alongside varicose veins. A skin patch allergy test may help to diagnose the cause of eczema.
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Doctors know that erectile dysfunction is common, but calculating its exact prevalence is tough. A recent review has attempted to draw a clearer picture. About 1 out of every 10 kids will develop eczema. Typically, symptoms appear within the first few months of life, and almost always before a child turns 5.
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But the good news is that more than half of the kids who have eczema today will be over it by the time they're teenagers. Signs and symptoms of eczema can vary widely during the early phases. Between 2 and 6 months of age and almost always before they're 5 years old , kids with eczema usually develop itchy, dry, red skin and small bumps on their cheeks, forehead, or scalp.
The rash may spread to the arms and legs and the trunk, and red, crusted, or open lesions may appear on any area affected. They also may have circular, slightly raised, itchy, and scaly rashes in the bends of the elbows, behind the knees, or on the backs of the wrists and ankles. As kids get older, the rash is usually scalier than it was when the eczema first began, and the skin is extremely itchy and dry. These symptoms also tend to worsen and improve over time, with flare-ups occurring periodically. Children often try to relieve the itching by rubbing the affected areas with a hand or anything within reach.
But scratching can make the rash worse and eventually lead to thickened, brownish areas on the skin. This is why eczema is often called the "itch that rashes" rather than the "rash that itches. In many cases, eczema goes into remission and symptoms may disappear altogether for months or even years.
For many kids, it begins to improve by the age of 5 or 6; others may have flare-ups throughout adolescence and early adulthood. Some people will have some degree of dermatitis into adulthood, with areas of itching and a dry, scaly appearance. Eczema is not contagious, so there's no need to keep a baby or child who has it away from siblings, other kids, or anyone else.
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Scientists believe that eczema is inherited, so there's no way to prevent it. But because specific triggers can make it worse, flare-ups can be prevented or improved by avoiding possible triggers. These include:. Also, curbing the tendency to scratch the rash can prevent the condition from worsening and progressing to cause more severe skin damage or a secondary infection. If your doctor suspects eczema, a thorough medical history is likely to be the best diagnostic tool.
What is eczema? | American Academy of Dermatology
A personal or family history of hay fever, other allergies, or asthma is often an important clue. Besides doing a physical examination, the doctor will likely ask about your child's symptoms and past health, your family's health, any medicines your child is taking, any allergies your child may have, and other issues.
For example, if your child began using a new soap or lotion before the symptoms started, mention this to the doctor because something in the soap might be irritating the skin. The doctor will want to rule out other diseases and conditions that can cause skin inflammation. So your child might need to be seen more than once before a diagnosis is made. The doctor might recommend sending your child to a dermatologist or an allergist.
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