How Do You Know if It's Eczema?
You will only get a real diagnosis of eczema from a physician. The good news is, it involves no blood tests and only rarely may involve a skin scraping or biopsy to rule out other conditions, so no crying kids! Like Sherlock Holmes, your doctor will probably ask you a number of questions to indicate whether you seem like an "eczema family," like whether you or your mate have ever had the condition or any of its charming companions like asthma and hay fever.
Then they will look for telltale signs that this isn't just any old rash:
- Does the rash itch? (It may be driving you and your child nuts!)
- Is the rash recurring, meaning it gets better or worse for no apparent reason?
- Is the rash red, scaly, dry, or cracked?
- In babies and toddlers, does the rash commonly appear on the face and on the trunk, but rarely in the diaper area? (That's a separate thing we moms get to worry about.)
- In older kids and adults, does the rash usually show up on the neck, inner elbows, backs of knees, and ankles?
- Did you first notice the rash on your child at a very young age?
- Do eczema, hay fever, and/or asthma run in the family?
If these signs sound familiar to you and/or you've answered "yes" to these questions, then chances are your doctor will diagnose eczema. But PLEASE, go see your pediatrician or dermatologist and have them make a diagnosis! Don't diagnose it yourself. Talk to your doctor about treatment options for your child. For example, there are steroid and steroid-free topical options available in cream or ointment formulations. So, it's important to educate yourself about treatment options and ask your doctor which one might be right for your child.
Effective treatment, as well as a lot of advice from doctors and moms, can help you avoid flare-ups and help clear them up when they occur. And best of all, once you're armed with any medications your doctor might prescribe, as well as an understanding of how eczema works and how to control it, you and your child get your power back!