What is it?
Eczema is a group of skin conditions that cause an itchy, scaly, red skin. It is a common skin condition that mainly affects infants, but can also affect older children and adults.
What are the symptoms?
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 the 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. For some people, it flares periodically and then clears up for a time, even for several years.
What to expect?
You can try to do the following things to manage the symptoms at home, on their own or in addition to treatment by your doctor:
- Keep the skin hydrated. This can be done with emollients such thick creams or ointments.
- Showering or bathing can also dehydrate the skin. Try to shower not too hot, often or long, use only a little or no soap and use emollients immediately after showering.
- Try not to scratch.