Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, is a common skin condition that causes itchy, dry, red skin that often forms scaly patches. Eczema occurs most commonly in children, clearing up with age, but it can also occur or recur in adults. Studies have also shown it tends to occur more frequently in people with allergies and asthma.
Allergies can cause an array of skin symptoms, including:
angioedema (swelling under the skin or in the throat and mouth)
flaking or scaling
Over time and especially if the area is repeatedly irritated or scratched, the affected skin may become hard and leathery. Skin symptoms are often accompanied by other symptoms, like itchy, watery eyes, runny nose, sneezing or wheezing.
Dr. Altchek will begin with a comprehensive examination of your skin and a discussion of when the symptoms first appeared. In cases of eczema, an exam is usually sufficient to make a diagnosis. When an allergy is suspected, Dr. Altchek may use skin tests or other methods to help determine the specific cause of the reaction so it can be properly treated.
Eczema can often be effectively treated by avoiding habits that can dry skin, such as long, hot showers or baths, use of mild soaps and regular application of moisturizers. Reducing stress may help avoid flareups. When these steps aren't enough to provide relief, topical creams and antihistamines may be used. In some severe cases, UV therapy or prescription-strength moisturizers may be helpful. For skin allergies, the best way to control symptoms is to avoid the allergen. Topical creams and antihistamines can also be used to reduce symptoms, and when reactions are severe, corticosteroid injections may be necessary.
Dr. Altchek accepts most major insurance providers.
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