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Dyshidrotic Eczema

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Oct 3, 2022.

What is dyshidrotic eczema?

Dyshidrotic eczema is a recurrent skin rash with small fluid-filled blisters. The blisters appear on palms of your hands, on the sides of your fingers, and soles of your feet. The exact cause is unknown. Your risk may be increased if you have allergies, you smoke, or have other skin conditions, such as atopic dermatitis. Your risk may also increase if you eat a diet high in metal salts. Foods such as mushrooms, chocolate and coffee contain metal salts.

What are the signs and symptoms of dyshidrotic eczema?

  • Burning, itching, or pain in the blister areas
  • Open blisters that are reddened and itch
  • Peeling or thickened skin in the area of previous blisters

How is dyshidrotic eczema treated?

Treatment will depend on how severe your rash is. Your rash may heal without treatment. You may need medicine to help decrease itching and how long you have a rash. This medicine may be a pill or cream. You may also need medicine to treat an infection. Your healthcare provider may put a dressing on the blisters to keep bacteria from getting in them. You may need ultraviolet light therapy if the medicated cream does not help.

How can I manage my symptoms?

  • Do not scratch your rash. Bacteria from your fingernails may enter your open sores during scratching and cause an infection.
  • Use moisturizes or emollients, such as petroleum jelly. These help relieve itching and help prevent bacteria from getting in your sores. If you have a doctor's order for medicated cream, apply that first. Then apply the moisturizer or emollient on top.
  • Wear cotton socks and gloves. Cotton keeps your rash dry, which helps with itching. Gloves and socks help your medicated cream work better.
  • Ask your healthcare provider how often you should wash your hands. You may need to wash them less often while they heal. Do not use hand sanitizer with ethyl alcohol.
  • Ask your healthcare provider if you need allergy testing. Allergy testing may help identify what triggers your eczema.

How can I help prevent my rash from returning?

  • Identify and avoid possible triggers.
  • Avoid sweating more than normal.
  • Find ways to handle stress.
  • Decrease the amount of metal salts in your diet. Avoid onions, tomatoes, beans and beer. Ask your healthcare provider what other foods you should avoid.
  • Do not smoke. If you smoke, it is never too late to quit. Ask for information if you need help quitting.

When should I contact my healthcare provider?

  • The area of your rash is swollen, painful, draining fluid, and feels hot.
  • The blisters have yellow crust on them.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.