Eczema

What is eczema?

Eczema is a common skin problem. Your skin may:

  • Itch.  

  • Feel and look dry.  

  • Flake or scale.  

  • Look red.  

How does it happen?

You may get eczema when:

  • There is a change in the weather or humidity, especially when it gets dry.  

  • You eat some kinds of foods or take some kinds of medicines.  

If you have asthma or hay fever, you may get eczema often.

Eczema often runs in families.

What are the symptoms?

If you have mild eczema, you may have patches of dry, scaly skin on your arms or legs. It may itch.

If the eczema is bad, you may have painful itching. You may itch, especially on the:

  • Fronts of your elbows or backs of your knees.  

  • Face.  

It may bother you to be touched.

Eczema often gets worse in the winter when indoor air can be very dry.

How is it diagnosed?

Your Reddy Urgent Care healthcare provider will:

  • Look at your skin.  

  • Ask about medical problems you or your family have had.  

How is it treated?

For mild eczema:

  • You may not need any treatment.  

  • You can try 1% hydrocortisone cream. You can buy this at the store. Put it on the area up to 4 times a day.  

  • You may need anti-itch medicine (such as diphenhydramine) at bedtime to help you get to sleep without itching.  

Severe eczema can be harder to treat. You may find it helpful to:

  • Take an antihistamine medicine to stop the itching. Some antihistamines can be bought at a store without a prescription. For others you will need a prescription. Some kinds of antihistamines will make you sleepy, so it may be best to take them at bedtime.  

  • Use steroid creams prescribed by your provider for the rash and itching.  

  • Prevent dryness by putting moisturizing cream or ointment on your skin.  

Your Reddy Urgent Care healthcare provider will tell you how to use your medicine. Don’t use steroid cream more often than your provider tells you. Using a steroid for a long time can have serious side effects. Use the medicine exactly as your provider prescribes. Don’t use more or less of it than prescribed by your provider. Don’t use it longer than prescribed. Don’t stop using a steroid without your provider’s approval. You may have to lower your dosage slowly before stopping it. Don’t put the medicine on your face or around your eyes unless your provider tells you to.

Be sure to use all medicines exactly the way your healthcare provider prescribed them.

What else can I do to take care of myself?

Don’t take long, hot baths.

  • Take short baths or showers no more than once a day.  

  • Don’t use really hot water. It can make you itch more.  

  • Put moisturizer on your skin right after bathing. Examples of good moisturizers are Eucerin, Aquaphor, and Cetaphil.  

Try not to scratch the eczema. You could scratch the skin open and get an infection. If you think your skin might be infected, come to Reddy Urgent Care to see if you need treatment for an infection.

What can I do to prevent eczema?

To prevent mild eczema, you may need to:

  • Stay away from some kinds of foods if they make your eczema worse.  

  • Stay away from some kinds of medicines if they make your eczema worse.  

Severe eczema is an inherited problem. We do not know how to prevent this kind of eczema. Because it may flare up when you are stressed, it may help to try to have less stress in your life. When a flare-up happens, follow your healthcare provider’s advice to get the eczema back under control. See your provider if it is not getting better