What can I do if I have eczema or atopic dermatitis?
Your doctor may prescribe a corticosteroid cream or ointment to apply to the rash. This will help reduce itching and calm inflammation. Use it right after bathing. Follow your doctor's directions for using this medicine or check the label for proper use. Call your doctor if your skin does not get better after 3 weeks of using the medicine.
Antihistamines like hydroxyzine that reduce itching can also help make it easier not to scratch. A new class of drugs, called immunomodulators, works well if you have a severe rash. Two drugs in this class are tacrolimus and pimecrolimus. These drugs keep your immune system from overreacting when stimulated by an allergen. Because they affect your immune system, the Food and Drug Administration recommends that these drugs only be used when other treatments won't work.
Avoid scratching or rubbing the itchy area.
Try not to scratch the irritated area on your skin even if it itches. Scratching can break the skin. Bacteria can enter these breaks and cause infection. Moisturizing your skin will help prevent itchiness.
Some information taken from the:
National Institutes of Health. Handout on Health: Atopic Dermatitis. Accessed February 01, 2011
Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff