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Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, is an itchy, red skin rash. It is a long-term condition that may cause flare-ups for the rest of your life.


Return to the emergency department if:

  • You develop a fever or have red streaks going up your arm or leg.
  • Your rash gets more swollen, red, or hot

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • Most of your skin is red, swollen, painful, and covered with scales.
  • You develop bloody, red, painful crusts.
  • Your skin blisters and oozes white or yellow pus.
  • You have questions about your condition or care.


  • Medicines , such as immunosuppressants, help reduce itching, redness, pain, and swelling. They may be given as a cream or pill. You may also receive antihistamines to reduce itching, or antibiotics if you have a skin infection.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him of her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Manage eczema:

  • Do not scratch. Pat or press on your skin for relief from itching. Your symptoms will get worse if you scratch. Keep your fingernails short so you do not tear your skin if you do scratch.
  • Keep your skin moist. Rub lotion, cream or ointment into your skin right after a bath or shower when your skin is still damp. Ask your healthcare provider what to use and how often to use it.
  • Take baths or showers with warm water for 10 minutes or less. Use mild bar soap. Ask your healthcare provider for the best soap for you to use.
  • Wear cotton clothes. Wear loose-fitting clothes made from cotton or cotton blends. Avoid wool.
  • Use a humidifier to add moisture to the air in your home.
  • Avoid changes in temperature , especially activities that cause you to sweat a lot because this can cause itching. Remove blankets from your bed if you get hot while you sleep.
  • Avoid allergens, dust, and skin irritants. Do not let pets inside your home. Do not use perfume, fabric softener, or makeup that burns or itches.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Ā© Copyright IBM Corporation 2018 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotesĀ® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or IBM Watson Health

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.

Further information

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

Learn more about Eczema (Aftercare Instructions)

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