Essential Questions to Ask Your Dermatologist About Eczema
5 Key Questions to Ask Your Dermatologist About Eczema
Your doctor has just given you a diagnosis of eczema, that painful, red, itchy, and often oozing rash you get from time to time. Or maybe you feel like you are never able to get rid of it. It can make life miserable, cause you to call in sick to work and make living a normal life very difficult. You probably have a lot of questions for your doctor, but there are five main ones you might want to ask right away.
1. Why Me?
Maybe you wake up at night scratching your arms and legs until they bleed. During the day you might not notice as much itching, but your rash often oozes and has started to scab over in places until the itching starts again, and you scratch the scabs off.
There is no definite answer to why people get eczema (also called dermatitis), but there are some common causes and risk factors for eczema with which you might identify.
- Allergy to food, pollen, dust, animals, or fabric is frequent reasons for eczema breakouts.
- Stress is a contributing factor for many people.
- Certain illnesses can exacerbate your eczema.
- Your body’s little or no resistance to Pityrosporum ovale (a type of yeast) can leave your immune system open to attack.
2. How Can I Keep from Scratching?
Some of the methods to keep from scratching might not be top of mind but there are some easy and quick options you can take:
- Consider wearing a pair of cotton gloves to bed at night. Since eczema is usually worse at night, scratching often starts while you are sleeping and don’t notice you’re doing it. The cotton gloves might not keep you from the initial scratching, but the soft material will be softer than your fingernails. Once you are conscious, you can gently rub your skin instead of scratching.
- Gentle tapping on your rash can help reduce the itching.
3. What Is the Best Treatment for Eczema?
Treatments for eczema vary and can depend on how serious your breakout is. If you are suffering from an acute allergic reaction, your dermatologist might prescribe an antibiotic or suggest an over-the-counter antihistamine. Other treatments can include:
- Light therapy has proven to be successful in treating eczema.
- Keep bath or shower water cool. (Warm or hot water tends to increase the pain of eczema.)
- Hold a cool washcloth or small plastic bag of ice chips on the affected area. The coolness will likely feel comforting on your painful skin.
- Apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly.
- Use a lotion that is made for eczema and/or one that is soothing to your skin.
- Keep at a distance from pets if you have had allergic reactions.
- Invest in an air purifier. It will help the quality of air in your home which will benefit your breathing and your skin.
4. When Will It Go Away?
There is no definite answer to how long you will suffer from this condition. The cause of your eczema can give you some idea as can determining if it is acute or chronic. One way to shorter the duration is to try your best to keep your fingers off of the rash so it will have a better chance of healing.
5. Is Eczema Hereditary?
One positive thing about eczema is that it is not contagious, so you don’t need to worry about someone close to you catching it. However, some eczema is hereditary. Once your dermatologist determines the type you have, you will have a better idea about why you might have it and if you can pass it down to your children.
Call us today to set up an appointment at The Dermatology Group. Our dermatologists are experts in skin treatment and can help you live your life more comfortable while you begin treatment for your eczema.