It is often not very clear-cut in determining whether you have atopic dermatitis, the most common type of eczema. Without consulting with a physician or seeing a dermatologist, it is impossible to know whether you have eczema.
During the initial visit to the doctor, patients typically have a discussion about their symptoms and their medical history. The physician examines the patients’ skin to get a preliminary idea of what the particular condition may be. Following this process, physicians can determine whether it is eczema or another skin condition with symptoms similar to eczema.
Atopic Dermatitis Treatment Options
A solid skin care regimen is paramount. If your case of eczema is not severe, self-care strategies such as moisturizing daily and making lifestyle adjustments may suffice to get the symptoms under control. However, when eczema is severe, use of medications may be necessary.
The Fundamentals of Atopic Dermatitis Treatment Options
Choice of soaps and moisturizers are important. Try to find a soap that is not harsh and does not contribute to dryness. In addition to avoiding harsh soaps, you also need to make it a habit to apply a good moisturizer or ointment to your skin right after showering or bathing.
In severe cases of eczema, bleach baths are an effective way to alleviate symptoms. This is because bleach destroys pathogens that are present on the skin.
Avoid taking long showers or baths with hot water. Only use warm water and limit your time in the shower or tub. Too much water exposure can have a drying effect on the skin.
Managing your stress level in addition to regular physical activity is also paramount. Take some time for yourself to unwind and get enough rest every day.
Using a humidifier is also an effective way to help your skin retain enough moisture and protect it from dry air.
If your physician comes to the conclusion that you need to supplement your self-care regimen with medications, there are many options in that department.
Ointments containing hydrocortisone—usually available over the counter—can be an effective form of treatment for mild atopic dermatitis. That said, if your symptoms are severe, prescription-strength hydrocortisone ointments may be necessary. In cases where patients do not respond to milder therapies, doctors may prescribe patients with potent corticosteroids.
Oral antihistamines are also used to ease some of the symptoms that come with atopic dermatitis.
Phototherapy is also an option to relieve and control the symptoms of severe atopic dermatitis.
In addition to all these options, immune system-targeting medications such as cyclosporine may also be recommended to reduce inflammation and relieve symptoms. There are also injectable medications such as dupilumab that regulate the inflammatory reaction in the body.
You may also discuss your prescription moisturizer options with your doctor to further improve your skin barrier function.
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