A lot of people wonder if they have eczema when they itch, or if they are simply having a reaction to something like poison ivy or some sort of harmful chemical in the environment. The bottom line is, eczema is distinct from normal skin reactions in that it is specifically an allergic reaction. A person with eczema has skin that is negatively affected by a substance that is completely harmless to the majority of the population, similar to how certain people have a reaction to peanuts or dust in the air.
To determine if you have eczema, here’s a quick questionnaire to help you figure it out. Just be advised, this isn’t medical advice and shouldn’t be taken as confirmation from a licensed dermatologist that you have it, rather just an indication it is very likely you do and should seek further treatment:
1. Do you react to something harmless to most people? If every time you touch a cat or drink orange juice, you end up itching your arms like crazy, it’s very likely you have eczema.
2. Is the itch persisting enough that it causes rashes and scabs? Everyone gets itchy sometimes, but with eczema it’s more than that. You will often scratch until you are red or even bleeding.
3. Do you sometimes wake up with red or white spots and can’t explain them? People with eczema often itch in their sleep.
4. Does your scratching get bad enough that you often feel inclined to avoid short sleeve shirts and shorts? People with eczema usually have this problem.
5. Do you experience reduced mobility in affected areas? If you feel it is difficult or even painful to move your arms because you have scratched them so much, it is likely you have eczema.
If you answered yes to 3 or more of these quick questions, it is very likely that you have eczema and should seek treatment for it as soon as you can. The longer you allow your condition to persist without seeking dietary changes and medication to help relieve and reverse your condition, the more difficult it will be to do so.