Eczema: Brief Version

What is eczema?

Eczema is a common skin problem. It makes your skin irritated and swollen.

What is the cause?

Eczema often runs in families.

A lot of different things can make eczema worse. It often gets worse in the winter when indoor air can get very dry. It might get worse when you eat some kinds of foods or take some kinds of medicines.

What are the symptoms?

If you have mild eczema, you may have patches of dry, scaly skin. If the eczema is bad, you may have severe itching, especially on the:

  • Fronts of your elbows or backs of your knees
  • Face

How is it treated?

For mild eczema:

  • It may help to use a moisturizer at least 2 times a day.
  • You can try 1% hydrocortisone cream. You can buy this at the store. Put it on the area up to 4 times a day.

Severe eczema can be harder to treat. Your provider may prescribe:

  • Cream or ointment to stop the itching and other symptoms
  • Antihistamine pills to help stop itching and any allergic reaction. Do not put antihistamine creams or lotions on your skin if you are taking antihistamine pills.
  • Anti-inflammatory medicine

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 10 minute, lukewarm baths or showers.
  • Try not to scratch even if your skin itches. You could scratch the skin open and get an infection.
  • Stay away from scratchy clothes or foods that make your eczema worse.
Developed by RelayHealth.
Adult Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2014-10-10
Last reviewed: 2014-10-10
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright ©1986-2015 McKesson Corporation and/or one of its subsidiaries. All rights reserved.

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