Dyshidrotic Eczema

Dyshidrosis is a skin condition also named pompholyx or dyshidrotic eczema. It causes tiny blisters filled with fluid to appear on the palms and fingers, in rare cases they can also be found on the feet soles.

The alternative name pompholyx, which means bubble, might be a better description of this disease. Dyshidrotic eczema has many forms and the eruption could be spontaneous but also repeated or even chronic. It can affect both teens and adults. Dyshidrotic eczema has various levels of severity, it can be very limited or severe, with strong effects. Dyshidrotic eczema is a serious condition when the regular treatment proves to be ineffective.

Dyshidrotic eczema causes small blisters that are extremely itchy. They typically heal after about three weeks but the skin sometimes remains scaly in the location where a lesion has dried out. Sometimes, a new blister can emerge even before the damage caused by the previous one was repaired completely.

Creams and lotions rubbed on the skin are the typical cure for dyshidrotic eczema. Injections or corticosteroid pills like prednisone are a lot more effective but doctors only prescribe them in very serious cases.

In most cases, dyshidrotic eczema is not very severe, more of an itchy nuisance. However, in serious eruptions the pain and itching can be so acute that hands can no longer be used. The blisters also cause damage to the skin that can lead to complications. The skin might become hardened or bacteria can infect the blisters, especially if scratching hurts the upper skin layers. In such cases, a longer and more complex treatment might be required.

The first warning sign of dyshidrotic eczema is usually a rash that appears on the hands, or sometimes on the feet. If the rash doesn't disappear after a while, you should contact your doctor, one of the possible diagnostics is dyshidrotic eczema. If you already have the disease and there are complications such as severe pain, infection or fever, you should also ask for medical advice.

Usually, your doctor will not need any special tests for a precise diagnostic. However, the dyshidrotic eczema symptoms are similar to a number of other conditions, like contact dermatitis or fungal infestations. In order to eliminate these possibilities, physicians can perform a KOH test. This is done by collecting dead skin cells after scraping them from the surface with a glass item. In order to reveal a possible fungus attack, these cells are combined with potassium then examined using a microscope.

Allergies can also be confused with dyshidrotic eczema. In such cases, doctors can require a patch test, also known as the hypersensitivity allergy test. As the name implies, the test involves placing a patch on the skin. The patch contains various allergens and any possible reactions are monitored.

Dyshidrotic eczema causes

The mechanism of dyshidrotic eczema isn't well understood and the actual cause of the disease remains unknown. It seems to be connected to asthma, hay fever and other allergic problems, as well as another skin disease named atopic dermatitis. People who suffer from allergies can also suffer from recurrent seasonal outbreaks of dyshidrotic eczema, which inflames specific zones of the skin.

The inflammation caused by this condition is named spongiosis in medical terms since the skin resembles the structure of a sponge. Spaces appear between individual cells and are filled with fluid. All of these spaces give the skin a distinctive sponge-type appearance.

Symptoms of dyshidrotic eczema

The condition usually causes blisters to appear on either the palms or the sides of fingers. Rarely, they can also emerge on the feet soles. These blisters usually emerge in groups and look similar to tapioca. Their size is very small, about as large as the tip of a pencil.

In really serious outbreaks, larger blisters might develop. These are actually several small ones that unite and increase in size. While the blisters are active, they cause itchiness and pain. After about three weeks, they become dry and fall off, leaving a red and sensitive area on their former location. In most cases, the condition is cyclical and will restart after a few months.

Treatment options

The most effective treatment is to maintain the skin well hydrated, using one of the many available lotions, creams or simple products such as petroleum jelly. If the skin is wet when the products are applied, their action is more effective. The best moment to use them is after taking a bath, after drying the skin by patting. Since these moisturizers have no side effects, they can be applied as many times per day as needed, in order to provide comfort.

Scratching can be a serious problem, there are dedicated drugs available that will prevent you from doing it during sleep. Like most skin diseases, it can also be treated using topical corticosteroids, which are applied directly on the skin. These products are sometimes sold under the alternative names topical cortisones or topical steroids. Be careful to respect the prescribed dosage and don't apply them too often.

In very severe cases, stronger treatments might be necessary. These include ultraviolet light therapy, also known as phototherapy, steroid pills or coal tar preparations.

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