When To Call Your Doctor About Eczema
No matter what type of eczema you might have, schedule a visit if:
- You get an itchy rash and have a family history of eczema or asthma.
- The inflammation doesn’t respond within a week to treatment with over-the-counter hydrocortisone creams. You may need stronger forms of treatment.
- You get yellowish to light brown crust or pus-filled blisters over patches of eczema, especially if youâve been scratching. You could have a bacterial infection that should be treated with an antibiotic. In fact, youâre also more likely to get viral and fungal skin infections.
- During a flare-up of eczema, you have contact with anyone with a viral skin disease such as cold sores or genital herpes. Having eczema puts you at higher risk of catching the herpes simplex virus.
- You get many painful, small, fluid-filled blisters in the areas of eczema. You may have eczema herpeticum, a rare but potentially serious complication caused by the herpes simplex virus.
How Discoid Eczema Is Treated
Discoid eczema is usually a long-term problem, but medications are available to help relieve the symptoms and keep the condition under control.
Treatments used include:
- emollients moisturisers applied to the skin to stop it becoming dry
- topical corticosteroids ointments and creams applied to the skin that can help relieve severe symptoms
- antihistamines medications that can reduce itching and help you sleep better
There are also things you can do yourself to help, such as avoiding all the irritating chemicals in soaps, detergents, bubble baths and shower gels.
Additional medication can be prescribed if your eczema is infected or particularly severe.
The face and scalp are not normally affected.
The first sign of discoid eczema is usually a group of small red spots or bumps on the skin. These then quickly join up to form larger pink, red or brown patches that can range from a few millimetres to several centimetres in size.
Initially, these patches are often swollen, blistered and ooze fluid. They also tend to be very itchy, particularly at night.
Over time, the patches may become dry, crusty, cracked and flaky. The centre of the patch also sometimes clears, leaving a ring of discoloured skin that can be mistaken for ringworm.
You may just have one patch of discoid eczema, but most people have several patches. The skin between the patches is often dry.
How Is Eczema Treated What Medications Are Used
Treating eczema can be difficult if the cause is something you cant control, like genetics. Fortunately, you may have some influence over your environment and stress levels. Do your best to figure out what triggers or worsens your eczema, and then avoid it. The goal is to reduce itching and discomfort and prevent infection and additional flare-ups.
Consider these treatment tips:
If your child has skin problems, such as eczema, you can:
- Avoid long, hot baths, which can dry the skin. Use lukewarm water instead and give your child sponge baths.
- Apply lotion immediately after bathing while the skin is still moist. This will help trap moisture in the skin.
- Keep the room temperature as regular as possible. Changes in room temperature and humidity can dry the skin.
- Keep your child dressed in cotton. Wool, silk and manmade fabrics such as polyester can irritate the skin.
- Use mild laundry soap and make sure that clothes are well rinsed.
- Watch for skin infections. Contact your healthcare provider if you notice an infection.
- Help them avoid rubbing or scratching the rash.
- Use moisturizers several times daily. In infants with eczema, moisturizing on a regular basis is extremely helpful.
Read Also: O Keeffe’s Working Hands For Eczema
Dyshidrotic Eczema Vs Scabies
Dyshidrotic eczema and scabies both cause a person to develop small blisters on their skin. Dyshidrotic eczema blisters usually appear on the hands and feet, earning it the name ‘hand and foot eczema.’ The blisters tend to clear in two-three weeks, leaving the skin cracked, dry, and red. Although the affected area may be itchy, and tender to the touch, its important to prevent scratching in order to reduce the risk of infection.
Causes And Risk Factors Of Eczema
Skin affected by eczema is unable to retain moisture well, possibly because of low production of fats and oils. It is also caused by a disrupted skin barrier, allowing whatever moisture the skin has to freely evaporate into the air. This causes it to become dry and lose its protective properties.
It’s not clear what causes certain people to develop eczema, specifically atopic dermatitis.
Children are more likely to develop eczema if other allergic diseases such as hay fever and asthma run in the family, which suggests that there may be a genetic component to the condition. Read more about conditions related to eczema below.
Though dermatologists dont necessarily consider eczema an autoimmune disorder, the symptoms of atopic dermatitis are thought to be the result of an immune system overreaction or dysfunction.
Indian Journal of Dermatology
In addition to genetic and immune system factors, environmental factors also play a role in worsening or triggering eczema.
Don’t Miss: Why Did My Eczema Flare Up
One Last Thing About Scalp Eczema Treatment
Scalp eczema can be uncomfortable, but there are several over-the-counter solutions that can help relieve your symptoms.
But as always, consulting a professional can help you manage this skin condition. In particular, you may want to see a dermatologist to help identify the triggers for scalp eczema and get a prescription treatment if the remedies youve tried arent effective.
Importantly, see your dermatologist as soon as possible if your eczema-related skin patches drain fluid or pus, form crusts, or become very red or painful.
Additional reporting by Diana Rodriguez.
Eczema Coping Tips Beauty Products
Suggestions for using beauty products include:
- Remember that even hypoallergenic cosmetics can irritate your skin. Whenever possible, keep your face free of make-up.
- Avoid perfumes, fragranced skin lotions and strongly scented shampoos.
- When using a new cosmetic, try testing it first on a small, inconspicuous area of skin such as your forearm. If you experience a reaction, dont use the product again.
Don’t Miss: How Does Eczema Look On Babies
When To Call A Doctor
Make the call if your babys eczema doesnt begin to get better within a week of starting over-the-counter hydrocortisone creams. It may be time for a prescription medicine.
Also check with your doctor if yellow or light brown crust or pus-filled blisters appear on top of the eczema. This could be the sign of a bacterial infection that needs antibiotics.
How Is Eczema Different In Adults Vs Children
Atopic dermatitis is typically considered a childhood disease because most cases develop by the age of five, according to the AAD. Although this condition commonly appears in childhood, adults can still develop atopic dermatitisreferred to as adult-onset atopic dermatitisamong other types of eczema.
Its important to know that the presentation of atopic dermatitis can look different between age groups. In babies, atopic dermatitis often presents on the scalp, face, and neck, while atopic dermatitis in children and adults often presents on the eyelids and in the inner elbows and backs of the knees, Dr. Nakamura explains.
Per the AAD, heres how eczema may occur in different locations depending on age:
- Infants and toddlers: In very young children, eczema usually forms on the face and scalp area, most commonly appearing on the cheeks. Signs of atopic dermatitis in infants and toddlers may include difficulty sleeping, fussiness, and rubbing against objects or items.
- Children: In older children, eczema often develops in areas where the skin is creased, such as the elbows, knees, neck, and beneath the buttocks. It can also develop on the wrists and ankles. The skin in these areas can thicken over time, especially from chronic rubbing.
- Adults: Eczema can still develop in the creases and folds of the skin in adulthood but can present anywhere, including the eyelids, scalp, and hands.
Read Also: How To Use Eczema Honey
What Questions Might My Healthcare Provider Ask To Diagnose Eczema
The conversation with your healthcare provider will need to cover a lot of information. Be sure to be specific about your symptoms.
- Where is your eczema located?
- What have you used to try to treat your eczema?
- What medical conditions do you have? Allergies? Asthma?
- Is there a history of eczema in your family?
- How long have you had symptoms of eczema?
- Do you take hot showers?
- Is there anything that makes your symptoms worse?
- Have you noticed that something triggers or worsens your eczema? Soaps? Detergents? Cigarette smoke?
- Is there so much itchiness that you have trouble sleeping? Working? Living your normal life?
How Do Symptoms Of Eczema And Ringworm Compare
Both eczema and ringworm tend to inflame and redden the skin and can make it dry, swollen, crusty, and itchy. In addition, both can happen almost anywhere on the body, head to toe.
One symptom that sometimes helps tell the difference is that ringworm often produces a scaly, ring-shaped rash, typically on the trunk, arms, or legs. But nummular, or âdiscoid,â eczema also produces a round, scaly rash that can look like ringworm.
If you think you have ringworm, but over-the-counter remedies fail to work, it may be time to see your doctor. You may have eczema, psoriasis, or some other skin condition. Only your doctor can tell for sure the source of your symptoms.
Read Also: Can Coconut Oil Help Eczema
Recommended Reading: Can You Get Eczema Around Your Eyes
Toxicity And Side Effect Management
It is crucial that the patient and parents understand that the use of topical steroids should only be used for active lesions. They can also be used prophylactically by applying the topical steroid a few times a week to prevent flare-ups. Topical steroids should not be routinely used daily. Long term use of topical steroids can cause atrophy , stretch marks , acne, telangiectasia and rebound dermatitis/rosacea. The strength and formulation of the topical steroid need to be carefully determined based on the location of the body affected. Less potent steroids should be used on the face and intertriginous regions.
How Long Does Eczema Last
Roxanne Hamilton | Answered August 17, 2021
For most people, eczema is a lifelong condition that consists of occasional flare-ups. Once treated, it can take several weeks for rashes to clear up. Since these rashes develop from negative immune reactions, theres also a risk that more flare-ups will occur unless you reduce your exposure to triggers.Apr 14, 2020
Read Also: Can Stress Cause Eczema Outbreaks
Causes Of Atopic Eczema
The exact cause of atopic eczema is unknown, but it’s clear it is not down to one single thing.
Atopic eczema often occurs in people who get allergies. “Atopic” means sensitivity to allergens.
The symptoms of atopic eczema often have certain triggers, such as soaps, detergents, stress and the weather.
Sometimes food allergies can play a part, especially in young children with severe eczema.
You may be asked to keep a food diary to try to determine whether a specific food makes your symptoms worse.
Allergy tests are not usually needed, although they’re sometimes helpful in identifying whether a food allergy may be triggering symptoms.
What Does Atopic Dermatitis Look Like
Atopic dermatitis can present itself as either a widespread, flat rash, or as thick, scaly patches. If you have drier skin, you may notice small, discolored bumps on your arms and thighs. Over time, the affected parts of your skin may change in tone and texture. This is due to long-term irritation and constant scratching, which can make your skin look lighter or darker with a thick, leather-like appearance. Permanent scarring is another possibility.
You May Like: Carmex For Eczema On Lips
Early Detection Of Psoriasis And Eczema Is Key
Depending on a wide variety of factors, treatments can be very similar for both conditions. Seeking proper treatment and taking good care of your skin will help limit symptoms. Hydration is extremely important, especially early on for patients with a family history. Increasing hydration will also help to control the itch, particularly with eczema. Various kinds of topical therapies can be highly successful as well.
Be sure to establish a relationship with a primary care provider. See them regularly so they can observe skin changes and answer questions. Telehealth has been a huge help in terms of increased access to dermatologists and our ability to help more patients. Patients can send in a picture of a rash and get advice within 24 hours, says Dr. Hayes. I recommend patients see a dermatologist yearly to establish a good baseline. There are areas of your skin you cannot easily see, so its a good idea to have trained eyes on it with regular full-body skin exams. Include the skin in your regular health care maintenance, just like you would get your blood pressure checked or routine teeth cleaning. Early detection is key.
How To Use Topical Corticosteroids
When using corticosteroids, apply the treatment accurately to the affected areas. Unless instructed otherwise by your doctor, you should follow directions on the patient information leaflet that comes with the corticosteroid.
Do not apply the corticosteroid more than twice a day. Most people will only have to apply it once a day.
To apply the topical corticosteroid, take the following steps:
- apply your emollient first and ideally wait around 30 minutes before applying the topical corticosteroid, until the emollient has soaked into your skin
- apply a good amount of the topical corticosteroid to the affected area
- use the topical corticosteroid until the inflammation has cleared up, unless otherwise advised by your GP
Speak to your prescriber if you have been using a topical corticosteroid and your symptoms have not improved.
You May Like: Eczema Flare Up All Over Body
What Gets Rid Of Eczema Fast
Betty Becker | Answered December 3, 2021
Corticosteroid creams, solutions, gels, foams, and ointments. These treatments, made with hydrocortisone steroids, can quickly relieve itching and reduce inflammation. They come in different strengths, from mild over-the-counter treatments to stronger prescription medicines.Mar 25, 2021
Why Do Kids Get Eczema
Skin has special cells that react when they come in contact with anything that irritates them. They make the skin inflamed to protect it. If you have eczema, these cells overreact when something triggers them and they start to work overtime. That’s what makes your skin red, sore, and itchy.
No one is really sure why people get eczema. It’s not contagious no one can catch it from you and you can’t catch it from anyone else. Kids who get eczema often have family members with hay fever , asthma , or other things known as “atopic” conditions.
More than half of the kids who get eczema will also someday develop hay fever or asthma themselves. Eczema is not an allergy itself, but allergies can be a trigger for eczema. That means that if you have allergies to things like dust or animal dander, your eczema may flare up sometimes.
Aside from allergies, some things that can set off eczema include:
- soaps, detergents, or perfumes
- dry winter air with little moisture
- other things that can irritate your skin, like scratchy fabrics
You May Like: How To Stop Child From Scratching Eczema
Dealing With Severe Eczema Stress And Isolation
If your eczema is widespread and severe, you will need to be under the care of a consultant dermatologist, who will be able to assess your suitability for stronger treatments such as phototherapy or systemic immunosuppressants.
If your eczema could be attributed to stress, you might benefit from seeking out additional sources of emotional support. Your GP will be able to signpost you to local counselling services, or you could look for a counsellor at . You might also like to approach your local Mind , as many branches offer free or low-cost counselling sessions.
The Silver Line is another source of support. The Silver Line is a free confidential Helpline providing information, friendship and support to older people, open 24 hours a day, every day of the year. The Silver Lines phone number is 0800 4 70 80 90 and their website address is www.thesilverline.org.uk.
If youre feeling lonely, you might also consider joining a local club or interest group.
Adults can get any type of eczema, including atopic dermatitis , which many people consider a childhood disease.
When AD begins after your 18th birthday, dermatologists call it adult-onset atopic dermatitis. Youd receive this diagnosis if you never had AD before. A peak time for developing adult-onset AD is in your 50s.
AD and the eyes
In adults, atopic dermatitis often develops on skin around the eyes.
How Can I Tell If My Skin Is Infected
If you think your skin is infected, you should see your GP as soon as possible so that it can be assessed. Skin can be infected with bacteria, fungi or a virus. Bacterial infection is the most common.
Look out for one or more of the following signs of bacterial infection:
- Eczema becomes suddenly worse, with redness, itching and soreness.
- The skin is weepy with clear or yellow fluid.
- The skin has blisters, or red/yellow pus spots appear.
- You have a raised temperature, flu-like symptoms or swollen glands in the armpit, neck and groin.
Read Also: Eczema Cream For Toddler Face