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The palms, hands, fingers and soles of the feet are the most common areas for dyshidrotic eczema which is a deep itchy blister on the skin. Since this condition is not contagious research believe the condition may be an inherited allergic reaction. After several years the disease can reappear if it has stopped. Severe pain can be caused when the blisters erupt. Secondary infections can be caused from the thickening of the skin that occurs during scratching. Those most at risk of the condition are those between twenty and forty years of age. Dyshidrotic eczema is more likely to occur in women than men.
There are a variety of symptoms that accompany dyshidrotic eczema. However, the most common symptoms include the following:
- Gaps and/or cracks in the skin.
- Profuse sweating.
- The site of the rash may have pain and blistering.
- The site of the rash may have intense burning and itching.
- Blisters that are small but deep rooted.
- Blisters that may ooze.
- Skin cuts that may crust.
- Skin areas that become leathery.
- If the area around the nails is involved then the nails may become disfigured.
The inherited allergic reaction is believed to be caused by a sensitivity to cobalt, nickel and balsam according to scientists. The condition can be triggered or worsened by certain factors such as the following:
- Items such as jewelry that contains nickel.
- Dyshidrotic eczema in the hands can be triggered by fungal infections anywhere else in the body.
- Cigarette smoke.
- Surgical metal implants.
- Some types of oral contraceptives.
- Any type of bacterial infection.
- High levels of humidity.
- Extremes in either hot or cold temperatures.
- High levels of stress and anxiety.
- Therapy involving immunoglobulin.
- Any history of asthma, hay fever and sinusitis in the family.
- Changes in the seasons.
- Some types of detergents and disinfectants.
- Saliva from animals.
- Clothing that contains nickel such as the hooks on bra straps.
- Clothing fibers that are synthetic or wool.
Prevention of Outbreaks
The disease itself has no permanent cure, but you can minimize the effects by taking preventative action to avoid the substances listed above and any additional situations that may trigger a flare up in the disease. Some ways that you can prevent the disease from flaring up including the following:
- Ensure enough ventilation for your feet by wearing open shoes.
- Do not do activities that results in profuse sweating.
- Rather than towel dry allow your skin to air dry.
- Use lukewarm water when bathing.
- Try to use soap that is ph-balanced.
- To protect your hands from chemicals you should wear gloves.
- Avoid wearing jewelry with nickel.
- Cotton socks should be used.
- To prevent fungal infections you should wear shoes in public facilities.
- To prevent the skin from becoming too dry you should keep it moisturized.
- To prevent additional infections you should keep your nails short and clean.
- Avoid scratching any rashes to prevent addition problems.
A physical examination is used to diagnose the disease, but a review of an individuals family history is also conducted. To check for alternative causes of the rash a doctor may also perform blood tests.
Treatment for Dyshidrotic Eczema
Keeping the skin dry and draining the blisters is way of treating outbreaks of this disease. Other such methods of treatment include the following:
- Psoralen combined with photo therapy.
- Secondary infections treated by topical antibiotics.
- To reduce itching a person may be given corticosteroid creams and antihistamines.
- Suppressants for the immune system.
- Chelating therapy.
- For fluid filled skin lesions a dressing will be applied.
- To limit further outbreaks an individual may be given biofeedback stress.
- The areas that itch may be sprayed with zinc oxide.
Side Effects of These Treatments
Severe damage to the body can result from long term steroid use such as thinning of the skin. Upset stomachs, rashes and allergic reactions can results from antibiotics which can lead to an attack of the natural microorganisms in the body.
Natural Alternatives to Prescription Drugs
When you follow a diet low in nickel and cobalt your risk of outbreaks is reduced. Therefore you should avoid eating canned foods, chocolate, baking powder, cocoa and tea since all these foods contain nickel. When preparing your food you should avoid using nickel-plated cooking utensils. To boost the immune system you should take Vitamin C supplements which can help fight infections. Every day you should drink two to three cups of rose hip tea. The swelling and allergic reactions can be reduced by the flavonoids in this tea. Cleavers, burdock root, yellow dock, yarrow, nettles and red clover are some herbs that you can take to heal your skin and increase your lymphatic drainage. You can use these herbs in tinctures or teas in any combination. Chickweed, chamomile, marigold and comfrey are some herbal skin creams you can use to help reduce the amount of itching and burning. A soothing cream that may be prescribed by homeopaths includes calendula or urtica urens if there are severe rashes involved. Following the guidelines until a permanent cure is found for dyshidrotic eczema is the only way to try and prevent outbreaks.