Identifying Eczema: A Comprehensive Guide

Itching, which can be severe, especially at night, is one of the most common symptoms of eczema. Other symptoms include red to brownish gray patches, especially on the hands, feet, ankles, wrists, neck, upper chest, eyelids, inside the bend of the elbows and knees, and in infants, face and scalp. Small, raised bumps may also appear which may leak liquid and crust when scratched. No laboratory tests are needed to identify atopic dermatitis (eczema).

Your doctor will likely make a diagnosis by examining your skin and reviewing your medical history. Patch tests or other tests may be used to rule out other skin conditions or identify conditions that accompany eczema. Eczema is a term for several different types of skin inflammation. Most types cause dry and itchy skin and rashes on the face, inside the elbows and behind the knees, and on the hands and feet.

Scratching the skin can cause it to turn red, swollen and itchy even more. Each type of eczema has its own set of symptoms and triggers. Most eczema come and go with time. Atopic dermatitis is usually worse in childhood and improves with age.

Other forms of eczema may stay with you throughout your life, but you can take steps to reduce symptoms. Nummular eczema and ringworm have similar symptoms, but each requires a different treatment plan. Nummular eczema is a rare skin condition characterized by coin-shaped spots on the skin. Learn about your symptoms, causes, treatments and diagnosis. Your doctor does not need any type of laboratory test to identify eczema.

A skin exam and a review of your medical history should be sufficient. If your doctor isn't sure if eczema is the cause of your skin problem, you may have some tests to rule out or diagnose a different problem, such as allergies. Doctors use skin patches or skin prick tests, for example, to see if certain allergic triggers cause a skin reaction. You may also need tests to identify conditions that accompany eczema. Our doctors have also been leaders in diagnosing contact dermatitis since the 1930s when the patch test was taken to the United States and the technique was refined. This allergy test is designed exclusively to identify the cause of contact dermatitis without using needles.

The patch test remains the only reliable method for determining which substances cause an allergic reaction when they come into contact with the skin. Almost half of children with eczema will outgrow the condition or experience great improvement by the time they reach puberty. A rash that starts on the baby's scalp (sometimes called cradle cap) may be an early sign but it doesn't necessarily mean the child will develop eczema. Eczema can begin during childhood, adolescence or adulthood and can range from mild to severe. It's even a good idea to vaccinate a child who has eczema because diseases like chickenpox can get worse in someone who already has eczema. By taking good care of the skin, using medication and avoiding irritants and other things that can trigger eczema it is usually possible to relieve symptoms at least enough to lead a fairly normal life. But the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology has concluded that the risk-to-benefit ratios of topical pimecrolimus and tacrolimus are similar to those of most other conventional treatments of persistent eczema and that the data do not support the use of the black-box warning. There are many sources of support in Germany for people with eczema including self-help groups and information centers.

In many cases, eczema improves as the years go by and may go away for a while or disappear altogether. Many people including doctors do not understand the impact that eczema can have on a person's life. If you do not have a food allergy then there are no foods including chicken that cause or worsen your eczema. Many people with eczema also have success with specific natural and alternative treatments such as bleach baths cryotherapy medical-grade honey meditation and acupuncture. While the exact cause of eczema is unknown researchers know that people develop eczema because of the interaction between genes and environmental triggers. Other treatment options for eczema include wet wraps UV radiation and medicines that suppress certain immune responses. And most likely as children grow up their eczema will improve on its own or even disappear altogether.

Riya Hutchings
Riya Hutchings

On a quest to combat Contact Dermatitis!