Eczema: Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

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Eczema is called atopic dermatitis in the medical community, and it is a disease that causes dry and itchy patches on the skin. It often occurs in children, but it can affect people of any age. Eczema is often chronic, but it tends to flare up. Many people who suffer from eczema also have hay fever, asthma, and allergies. There is no cure for eczema, but there are treatment options that can help control the disease and ease the symptoms.

Causes of Eczema

Eczema is caused by a gene variation that prevents the skin from fighting off certain germs, bacteria, and other irritants. The skin becomes vulnerable to environmental factors. As a result, it becomes inflamed and itchy. Some allergies can also cause eczema, especially in children.

Symptoms of Eczema

The symptoms of eczema are different for everyone. Some cases are more severe than others, and most people have flare-ups when the symptoms are worse for periods of time. Some of the most common symptoms of eczema include:

  • Dry skin
  • Itching
  • Red patches on the skin,
  • Small red bumps that leak a clear fluid
  • Thick, scaly, crusty, and cracked skin

Diagnosis of Eczema

Doctors can easily diagnose eczema with a physical exam. They will inspect the dry, itchy skin and be able to determine if it is eczema or another type of skin disorder. Doctors may also take a small sample of the skin to rule out other skin problems and determine if there are any other conditions contributing to or resulting from eczema.

Treatment of Eczema

Eczema has no cure, and it can sometimes be aggressive and persistent. Treatments can help manage symptoms, but even when the issue is under control for long periods of time, there can still be flare-ups. It can also take a while to find out which treatments work best for which sufferers. Trial and error is often the best way to determine which medication is the most effective at treating the problem. Some common treatment options include:

  • Itch creams – These are creams that help stop the itching and repair the skin over time.
  • Antibiotic creams –If the skin is infected as a result of scratching, antibiotic creams can help clear up the infection.
  • Oral corticosteroids –This medication is taken orally. Prednisone is the common oral corticosteroid of choice and can help make the body’s immune system stronger, so it can fight infections and irritants that cause eczema flare-ups.

Other treatments are focused on repairing the skin and preventing the sufferer from scratching and causing further damage. Some other treatments that can help include:

Prognosis of Eczema

The prognosis for people suffering from eczema is generally good. The patient needs to understand that eczema cannot be cured, so expectations are clear. Eczema can be tough to live with, so sufferers must be able to handle the emotional and physical aspects of this disease if they want to live a normal life. Proper treatment is essential.


  1. American College of Dermatology