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Red Alert!

"Eczema diagnosis"
By: Karen Lee Alabado, MDRed Alert!

Do you have eczema? Eczema is a skin condition which is itchy and usually red. It is derived from a Greek word which means “to boil out” which is very descriptive, since eczema, when left untreated can develop into an oozing, very red skin condition because of constant scratching and a superimposed infection. Eczemas are very common as they encompass most skin conditions ranging from skin asthma, psoriasis, fungal infections, and contact dermatitis. Anything itchy on the skin has the potential to develop into eczema.

So what is the best way to manage eczema? The first thing is to know what kind of eczema it is. A proper diagnosis can be made by your dermatologist. Treating it by yourself might make it disappear temporarily, only to have it come back much worse.

Once you know what kind of eczema you have, it is important to find out the things which make it worse. Some eczemas worsen with sweat, dust, or contact with various metals or rubber. Other eczemas worsen with stress, sun exposure, cold temperatures, or even when you take certain medications.

Ask your doctor what to avoid so that you may modify your environment. No matter what type of eczema you have, obviously scratching will make it worse.

How to alleviate the itch? Some people apply hot water, but this will only make the eczema itchier. So instead, try cool compress, which does a better job at soothing the itchy skin. Other people apply alcohol to get rid of the itch, but this will also make it worse because the alcohol irritates and dries the skin, which makes it itchier over time. A better option is using a soothing cream moisturizer or balm, which can help calm down the itching and the redness. 

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