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Can eczema be treated over telehealth?

Since no lab tests are usually needed to identify atopic dermatitis (eczema), your doctor will likely make a diagnosis by examining your skin and reviewing your medical history. This means that eczema can be diagnosed and treated via telehealth. Your provider may, however, want to use other tests to rule out other skin diseases.

What is eczema?

Atopic dermatitis (eczema) is a condition that makes your skin red and itchy. It’s common in children but can occur at any age. Atopic dermatitis is long lasting (chronic) and tends to flare periodically. It may be accompanied by asthma or hay fever.

Atopic dermatitis (eczema) signs and symptoms vary widely from person to person and include:

  • Dry skin
  • Itching, which may be severe, especially at night
  • Red to brownish-gray patches, especially on hands, feet, ankles, wrists, neck, upper chest, eyelids, inside the bend of the elbows and knees, and in infants, the face and scalp
  • Small, raised bumps, which may leak fluid and crust over when scratched
  • Thickened, cracked, scaly skin
  • Raw, sensitive, swollen skin from scratching

Eczema most often begins before age 5 and may persist into adolescence and adulthood. While there is no known cure for atopic dermatitis, some treatments can help to relieve itching and prevent new outbreaks.

Is there treatment for eczema?

Since eczema can be persistent, various treatments over months or years may be needed to control it. And even if treatment is successful, signs and symptoms may return (flare up).

Medications such as creams that control itching and help repair the skin may be prescribed. Some of these creams have side effects, so make sure to speak with your doctor about the side effects of your medication before using.

Antibiotic eczema creams can be prescribed if your skin has a bacterial infection, open sore, or cracks. Oral drugs can be used to control inflammation, although these are only used in short-term treatment, since most can have potential serious side effects.

Therapies such as wet dressings are an effective but intensive treatment for severe atopic dermatitis that involves wrapping the affected area with topical corticosteroids and wet bandages. Ask your doctor about learning how to do this technique at home.

Itchiness is not usually a complaint with a cold, but it is the hallmark of an allergy problem. Coughing, wheezing, difficulty breathing, and other respiratory symptoms. Recurrent red, itchy, dry, sometime scaly rashes in the creases of the skin, wrists, and ankles also may indicate an allergy.

Eczema Prevention

There are a few things you can do to help prevent the severity of eczema.

  • Moisturize your skin at least twice a day
  • Try to identify and avoid triggers that worsen the condition. Sweat, stress, obesity, soaps, detergents, dust and pollen all could be possible triggers.
  • Take shorter baths or showers, and use warm, rather than hot, water.
  • Use only gentle soaps
  • Dry yourself carefully, and apply moisturizer while your skin is still damp
Dyshidrotic Eczema

Dyshidrotic eczema causes small, intensely itchy blisters on the palms of hands, soles of feet and edges of the fingers and toes. While the actual cause of dyshidrotic eczema isn’t known, it’s more common in those who have another form of eczema and tends to run in families.

Many cases of dyshidrotic eczema improve quickly with a short course of topical corticosteroids combined with soaking or applying cool compresses to affected areas a few times a day to help dry out blisters. Dyshidrotic eczema is often linked to a fungal infection, so your dermatologist is likely to prescribe an anti-fungal medication if needed.

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