Combatting the Itch of Eczema
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Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis) is a chronic condition that involves itchy rashes and is caused by inflammation of the skin. It is a common problem for children and adults, and many children eventually outgrow it. There are many treatments for eczema, many of which do not require any prescription medication. When seeking treatment for eczema, first seek an experienced dermatologist for a proper diagnosis. He or she will also advise you on the best way to treat the condition.
Hydrocortisone cream may help mild eczema by relieving you of some discomfort. Prescription steroid cream may be needed for more severe eczema; although, one should be careful not to apply stronger creams to the face. Another type of topical treatment is an immunomodulator, such as Elidel cream- a relatively new type of drug that treats eczema by controlling inflammation and reducing the immune system reactions. This cream can be prescribed to anyone over the age of two. There is a possible cancer risk linked to the use immunomodulators, so be sure to ask your dermatologist if he or she has any concerns about their use.
Antihistamines taken by mouth may help with itching or if you have allergies. Many can be bought over the counter. Some antihistamines can cause sleepiness, but they may help with scratching while sleeping.
Other Preventative Measures
Patients who suffer from eczema can minimize itching and excessive discomfort by following directions from their dermatologist regarding skin care. Avoid scratching the skin. Instead, relieve the itching by applying a dye- and fragrance-free moisturizer to the skin. Petroleum jelly may work as well. Any moisturizer is best applied after bathing when the skin is still damp. Many patients find that they have to try a variety of lotions before discovering what works best for them. If you suffer from any allergies, continue to avoid the allergen to prevent unwanted flare-ups. A reaction may exacerbate the eczematic rash. When bathing, do not scrub the skin hard or for an excessive amount of time.
Dr. David J. Goldberg is a renowned dermatologist with extensive experience in the diagnosis and treatment of various skin disorders including eczema. If you are unsure if you have eczema or want to discuss treatment options, contact Dr. Goldberg today at Skin Laser and Surgery Specialists of NY & NJ at (646) 461-8550.