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    Eczema - Part I
    Susan Evans, MD posted:
    Dear Readers,

    Of all the skin conditions I see, the most frustrating for both me and my patients has to be eczema.

    The most common form of eczema is atopic eczema, which is believed to be similar to an allergy, and is essentially a hypersensitivity of the skin. This leads to long-term skin inflammation. Some people outgrow it as they get older. It does tend to run in families.

    Most people with eczema also have trouble with hay fever, allergies, or asthma. Because of this, anything that would irritate an allergy will aggravate your skin. Here are a few things that make eczema worse:

    • Having allergies to animal dander, dust mites, pollen, or mold
    • Being sick with a viral infection
    • Touching rough materials like cardboard boxes or wood
    • Having excessively dry skin
    • Being exposed to irritants in the environment
    • Water
    • Being too hot or too cold
    • Dyes and perfumes in soap, cream, and lotion
    • Stress
    In order to be diagnosed with eczema, your doctor will do a physical exam of your skin and take a detailed personal and family history. The skin lesions will be examined, and sometimes a punch biopsy is done so that it can be examined under the microscope.

    Eczema almost always causes itching, which can sometimes begin even before any skin lesions or rashes appear. Eczema will usually present as oozing blisters that crust over as they heal. Areas of the skin that are affected are sometimes lighter or darker than the surrounding skin. There is usually redness/inflammation around the blisters. And yes, they itch!

    People who have been affected with eczema for a long time develop leather-like skin in those areas; a result of the irritation and the scratching.

    Obviously, you want to avoid scratching if you possibly can. Use cold compresses to help alleviate the itching. Take antihistamines to help with the most severe itching.

    Try to find a moisturizer that you can tolerate because your skin needs to be lubricated, as dry skin makes eczema even worse. The moisturizer should not have any alcohol, fragrance or dye in it. You will have to experiment to find what works for you.

    To be continued in Eczema - Part II
    Was this Helpful?
    24 of 32 found this helpful
    Rachael2010 responded:
    My granddaughter who is 4-years-old has a servere case of eczema and I almost didn't think the doctor's diagnosis was correct as she developed red blisters on her legs and ankles only. We are applying the prescribed creams and giving her antibiotics but it doesn't seem to go away. Could an allergic reaction to something in our home be causing it to get worse? I noticed you mentioned in your article that a person can be allergic to mold. Our house is old and sometimse we develop mold that we try and clean but it seems to come back. I wonder if this could be playing a role in my graddaughter's condition. What do you think?
    Annie_WebMD_Staff replied to Rachael2010's response:
    Hi Rachael2010,

    Please repost your question as a discussion rather than an add on reply to Dr Evan's tip post.

    Simply mouse over the orange "Post Now" button and click on Discussion to open a new edit box window.

    That way your question will be more easily seen by Dr Evans and the community members.


    - Annie
    irish66miki responded:
    I was recently diagnosed with Dyshidrotic Eczema. I have never had allergies or skin problems, and there's no, family history of anything like that either. It just seems like in the past year or so I began getting itchy all over really and then wham, I started getting these blisters on the palms of my hands and between the fingers . Could hormone change (i am 44) have a hand in this at all? I work in the restaurant business so washing my hands is a must, and it has become to painful to wash all the time and its interfering with my job all together now. Am I stuck with this forever or does it go away? I think I understand how things like this can cause a person to go into depression, I'm just really frustrated and tired of itching nd being in pain...HELP!!!
    hiram responded:
    I have had eczema on my left foot for several years and in winter it gets worse but now it is on my fingers and peeling and scaley and itches and i have been upset up life recently went to my Dr crist and he said be calm and use Fluocinonide 0.05% cream three times per day. My foot I can put a sock on it but my hands, gloves or no gloves. help me understand is there foods, vitamins that would help.

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