Many people wonder if they get eczema when it itches, or if they just have a reaction to something like poison ivy or some kind of harmful chemical in the environment. The bottom line is that eczema is different 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 quiz to help you find out. Just keep in mind that this is not medical advice and should not be taken as confirmation from a licensed dermatologist that you have it, but only an indication that you most likely have it 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, there’s a good chance you have eczema.
2. Does the itching persist long enough to cause rashes and scabs? Everyone is itchy sometimes, but with eczema it is more than that. They will often scratch until they are red or even bleed.
3. Do you sometimes wake up with red or white spots and can’t explain them? People with eczema often itch while they sleep.
4. Is your scratching so bad that you often feel inclined to avoid short-sleeved shirts and shorts? People with eczema often have this problem.
5. Do you experience reduced mobility in affected areas? If you feel that it is difficult or even painful to move your arms because you have scratched them a lot, you probably 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 as soon as possible. The longer you allow your condition to persist without seeking dietary changes and medications to help alleviate and reverse your condition, the more difficult it becomes to do so.