The doctor will ask about symptoms and past health. A physical exam will be done. The diagnosis is often made based on how the skin looks. Tests may be done to rule out other problems or to look for an infection.
Eczema cannot be cured. Treatment can help to ease itching and redness. It may also reduce the number of flare ups.
Treatment to ease symptoms may include:
To ease stress on skin:
Avoid hot or long baths or showers.
Use mild, unscented bar soap or non-soap cleanser.
Do not scrub area. Air-dry or gently pat is better to dry skin.
Gentle moisturizers should be used after a shower when skin is still damp.
Treat skin infections right away.
Look for possible irritants. Avoid them when possible.
Scratching the skin can make symptoms worse. It can also damage the skin and increase the risk of infection. Medicine may help if itching is intense.
Medicine may be needed to ease symptoms. Examples include:
Prescription creams and ointments. They can ease flare up and irritation of skin.
Prescription or over-the-counter antihistamines to help ease itching.
Antibiotics to treat infection. It may be given as a cream or pill.
Pills to reduce inflammation of the skin.
Monoclonal antibody shots to reduce inflammation.
Light therapy may be tried if other care is not helpful. It will include time exposed to sunlight or artificial UV light. A medicine may be used to make skin more sensitive to the light. This light does have risks of premature aging of skin and skin cancer. The doctor will review benefits and possible risks.
There are no steps to prevent eczema. Flare ups may be prevented through steps above.
Atopic dermatitis. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website. Available at: https://www.niams.nih.gov/health-topics/atopic-dermatitis. Updated July 2016. Accessed October 30, 2019.
Eczema and atopic dermatitis. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: https://familydoctor.org/condition/eczema-and-atopic-dermatitis. Updated June 2017. Accessed October 30, 2019.
7/14/2017 DynaMed Systematic Literature Surveillancehttp://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115212/Atopic-dermatitis: Blauvelt A, deBruin-Weller M, et al. Long-term management of moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis with dupilumab and cocomitant topical corticosteroids (LIBERTY AND CHRONOS): a 1-year, randomised, double-blinded, placebo-controlled, phase 3 trial. Lancet. 2017;389(10086):2287-2303.
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