Eczema, a common symptom of food allergies, can be persistent. The best way to treat it is to start with good skin care.

Mild eczema may just need a little extra attention, while more severe eczema needs medical attention and perhaps prescription drug therapy.

Daily steps

Start with mild soap and moisturizer. Use alcohol-free products that will not dry out your skin. Gentle soaps appropriate for eczema can be found at drug stores, and your doctor will likely have a recommendation. A good moisturizer will conserve skin’s natural moisture and should be applied within five minutes of ending a shower or bath, while the skin is most able to absorb it. Moisturizer with SPF should also be applied throughout the day.

When bathing, take shorter showers or bathe with warm – not hot – water. Hot water can actually have a drying effect on the skin. Exercise and stress-reduction will also help the condition of the skin. And don’t forget to drink lots of water. Moisturizing from the inside out is one of the best ways to kept eczema under control.

Medications for eczema

There are some over-the-counter medications that can help to treat eczema. Hydrocortisone cream or ointment may help mild eczema. Prescription steroid creams can also help. Antihistamines like Benadryl are available at most grocery and drug stores and may help relieve symptoms. Some cause drowsiness and are best taken at night, especially if night-time itching is keeping you awake. Oral corticosteroids may be prescribed for severe eczema.

Options for severe eczema

If other treatments fail, ultraviolet light therapy is now being used more often to treat very severe eczema. Immunosupressants may be prescribed by a doctor. These include cyclosporine, azathioprine and methotrexate. Immunomodulators are creams that help to treat eczema by controlling inflammation and reducing the immune system reactions. Protopic and Elidel are examples of these. They generally work very rapidly to correct severe eczema that could lead to skin infections.

The key is to keep your skin clean and moisturized. If your skin starts to bleed and swell, it is important to see a doctor and seek treatment for these serious symptoms.

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