Diagnosing Eczema

Eczema is a chronic, itchy,inflammatory condition affecting the upper layers of the skin.

Hence the itch and the classic red, scaly, crusted or blistered rash must be present for eczema to be diagnosed. The symptoms must also last for a long period of time or must reappear frequently.  Having  a close family member who is atopic will also aid in the diagnosis of atopic eczema.

The diagnosis also depends on the location of the rash which needs to be typical for the age. Infants will usually experience eczema on their scalp, cheeks, elbows and knees. Small infants don’t scratch so rubbing against other surfaces like their bedding will irritate the areas affected.

Toddlers most commonly develop eczema in skin folds like the elbows and behind the knees but can develop it anywhere, as they are now able to scratch.  Atopic eczema in adults is rare as the other forms of allergy (asthma, or hayfever) are more common.  If eczema does occur in adults it is most likely to appear on the hands or feet.

What To Do If You Are Atopic

The reason for atopic people having atopic skin is not known and similarly a cure for atopy is not known. Current treatments are aimed at relieving and controlling the symptoms.

Until recently the doctors’ preferred form of treatment for atopic eczema was steroid-based creams.  New creams are always appearing on the market.  In the early 1990s two new creams hit on the market which appeared to be new revolutionary steroid-free treatments – Elidel and Protopic. They have since been associated with serious side effects including cancer and are now only used as a last resort.

A safer and more popular choice of treatment is natural creams that are applied topically to the affected skin.  There are many natural creams on the market.  Most are good and very effective for some but not for everyone.  Finding the best natural cream to treat your eczema will be a matter of trial and error.

Before Treating A Rash

Before treating your rash as eczema it is important to ensure that you have your rash properly diagnosed as treating for the incorrect skin condition may be more harmful than beneficial.  The only person who can accurately diagnose eczema (or any other skin condition) is a medical doctor. Consult your GP before treating a rash.

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