Eczema Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment
Eczema is a common skin condition affecting millions of Americans. Many people don’t realize they have eczema until they see a dermatologist or a Chandler allergy expert. That happens because many people don’t experience symptoms of eczema, such as redness, itching, or dryness.
Eczema is a chronic inflammatory disease of the outermost layer of skin called the epidermis. It causes thinning of the stratum corneum (the topmost layer), resulting in visible changes to the skin. The affected area looks scaly, red, bumpy, or even cracked. However, eczema flares up from time to time, so it’s not always easy to know if you have it.
In this article, we will explain how eczema is diagnosed and what to expect from the doctor.
How Do Doctors Diagnose Eczema?
As we previously said, eczema is a long-term skin issue that appears on the epidermis. Some of its most common symptoms are:
- Dry and sensitive skin
- Patches that crust over
- Swelling in areas of outbreaks
- Mild or severe itch. Some people scratch the skin until it bleeds, which is not recommended.
Do you think you have eczema? If yes, you should schedule an appointment with a doctor to be sure. We recommend you write down your symptoms, what seems to trigger eczema, and when the outbreaks happen. Take notes of this before the appointment and share them with your Queen Creek allergy expert.
If you think your child has a rash and it can be related to a food allergy, tell the doctor. It’s the best person to find possible food allergies.
At the appointment, the doctor will check your skin. After that, you should expect the following:
Medical history is crucial, but the doctor will also ask you to take some physical exams. The doctor will also ask you:
When and where did the itchy patches start to appear
If you have allergies, including allergies to dander or pet hair
If your skin outbreaks when you are stressed
If your rashes appear after touching something irritating, like household cleaning products
If your skin flares happen when your skin is dry or the weather is hot, dry, or cold.
Other Tests You May Need
No lab test is required to identify eczema. Your doctor may diagnose you by checking your skin and reviewing your medical history. They may use patch testing or other tests to rule out other skin issues. They also use patch testing to identify conditions that go along with your eczema.
What Is The Treatment?
Atopic dermatitis or eczema can be persistent in some patients. Mesa allergists usually confirm that even if treatments work, symptoms may flare again.
It’s crucial to identify the condition early to start the treatment. If self-care routines and regular moisturizing doesn’t work, your doctor may suggest you these treatments:
Corticosteroid Creams Or Ointment
These medications control itching and repair the skin barrier. You have to apply them over clean skin, after moisturizing. Overuse can cause side effects, so use them only as indicated.
Your doctor may also recommend other creams containing calcineurin inhibitors — such as tacrolimus (Protopic) and pimecrolimus (Elidel). However, they affect your immune system. These creams must be used by people older than 2 years old only.
You must avoid strong sunlight when using these medications.
These medications have a black box warning about potential risks of cancer. Nevertheless, the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology declares that the risk-to-benefit ratios of these topical drugs are similar to conventional treatments of persistent eczema. Plus, the data doesn’t support the use of the black box warning.
The doctor may also prescribe you an antibiotic cream if you have a skin infection. Oral antibiotics are the most common to treat a short-time infection. Remember to consult with your Chandler allergy expert or doctor about any side effects you have while taking these medications.
For more severe cases, you may need oral corticosteroids. They are effective, but you should not use them long-term as they cause serious side effects.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved a new injectable medicament called Dupilumbad (Dupixent). This medication is used for people with severe eczema that do not respond well to other options. Since this is a newer medication, it doesn’t have a long track record. It is safe, but it’s also expensive.
Contact An Eczema Expert
You don’t have to deal with eczema symptoms alone. The Eczema Clinic at San Tan Allergy & Asthma has extensive knowledge in the diagnosis and treatment of eczema. We are proud of being the first comprehensive eczema treatment clinic in Arizona.
Our team of well-experienced doctors has high rates of success in achieving disease response and sustained improvement. We guarantee an unique service for you, so contact us now to schedule an appointment.