The skin is the body’s largest organ and is made of many layers. It is sensitive to both internal and external irritants and may become inflamed, infected, or injured when exposed to certain substances or extreme heat. Millions of Americans develop rashes and skin infections, every year – many prompting visits to doctors. Treatments are available to remedy these conditions and restore the skin to a healthy condition.

Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a skin disease that occurs in people of all ages – though children are most prone to developing it. Approximately 35 million people in the U.S. have eczema, the vast majority of who are children under age 5. The condition causes chronically dry patches of skin and itching at all ages. The discomfort from eczema leads to constant scratching, which can in turn cause secondary complications, such as infection. It is important to seek a doctor for treatment for eczema if you or your child is suffering from any of the signs and symptoms of this disease.

Did you know?

Eczema symptoms vary according to severity and age of onset. Among children, who often develop the disease before their first birthdays, the symptoms may include a rash on the scalp and face. Older children can develop knots under the skin, as well as some thickening and discoloration. Additionally, the rash may appear in various areas such as the wrists, elbows, and knees. For adults, eczema covers much of the body and causes a persistent, non-stop itch.

Rashes are very common among patients of all ages and may appear on any area of the body for a number of reasons. The skin may also become irritated due to exposure to external substances, such as harsh chemicals or certain plants. Skin infections, on the other hand, are identified by isolated areas of the skin that are inflamed, hot, and tender to the touch.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I visit a doctor if I have a rash or other skin irritation?

Some skin reactions and minor burns are treatable at home.

  • Signs of Infection (Cellulitis) – Seek medical attention for any signs of skin infection, which include tenderness, skin warmth, swelling, redness, and fever. Left untreated, skin infections can rapidly spread to other parts of the body.
  • Rashes/Irritations – Seek medical attention for any rash or irritation that occurs in young children or the elderly. Contact dermatitis caused by contact with an external substance may produce a rash that can be cared for at home. However, you should see a doctor for any new rash that you cannot explain.

How will the doctor treat a skin irritation, such as a rash or infection?

Skin irritations may be caused by a number of sources, each of which requires a different type of treatment. Infections are common and generally require a course of topical or oral antibiotics. Depending on your diagnosis, you may be prescribed a medicated cream, lotion, or oral medication to help clear up your skin condition.

What should I expect during eczema treatment?

Eczema treatment is conducted in phases, first to control uncomfortable symptoms and then to clear infection and scaly lesions. Your treatment may include a combination of in-office treatments, topical medications, skin care products and lifestyle changes. Over time, eczema symptoms may begin to fade, and the development of new lesions usually slows.

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