Patches of itchy, red, raw, and inflamed skin are the hallmarks
of eczema. Eczema can flare up and disappear, only to flare up again. Make an
appointment with your dermatologist or your child’s pediatrician for an
evaluation and diagnosis.
To properly diagnose eczema, your doctor may
start with a complete physical exam and will ask you questions about your
symptoms and how long these symptoms have lasted.
It’s important to tell your doctor everything about your
symptoms in order to get the best diagnosis. Because there are a few kinds of
eczema and several treatment options, you want to help your doctor get to the
root of the problem in order provide the best guidance.
In addition to a detailed description of your specific
symptoms (i.e. itchy, hot, burning, etc.), be sure to inform your doctor of the
- how long you’ve had symptoms
- where they appear
- if anything seems to worsen the symptoms
A doctor can use a physical exam and a patch test to
Your doctor may want to do a physical exam. This may require
you to disrobe and put on a gown, to allow your doctor to look at all the
affected areas of your skin.
Your doctor will look at your skin, examine any red, scaly
spots or areas where you complain of itchiness. He or she will be looking for
the telltale signs of eczema, such as red patches, scales, and rashes.
Your doctor will also be looking to rule out other skin
disorders that can have similar symptoms.
there are signs that you are experiencing an allergic reaction rather than
eczema, your dermatologist may order a test called the patch test, which can help identify
everyday irritants to which a person is allergic.
Although there is no specific test used to diagnose eczema, your doctor
may perform a patch test to pinpoint certain allergens that may trigger eczema
symptoms, such as skin allergies associated with contact dermatitis.
During a patch test, an allergen is applied to a patch that is placed on
the skin for up to 48 hours. If you are allergic to that allergen, your skin
will become inflamed and irritated. In order to find exactly what is causing
the symptoms, your doctor may have to test several allergens on your skin.
Once your doctor has determined that you have eczema, he or
she will be able to suggest a method of treatment. If your doctor is unsure of
the cause or wants more information on your condition, he or she may refer you
to an allergist or another specialist.