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Hand Dermatitis - Definition, Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

 

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Hand dermatitis (hand eczema) is common. Hand dermatitis often results from a combination of causes, including genetic makeup, injury and allergy. It is frequently caused or aggravated by work, when it is known as occupational dermatitis. Hand dermatitis can spread to other sites,mainly the forearms and feet. The disease frequently found in the blood relatives. Hand dermatitis is particularly common in industries involving cleaning, catering, metalwork, hairdressing, healthcare and mechanical work. Hand dermatitis varies in severity. It may affect the backs of the hands, the palms or both sites. Often it starts as a mild intermittent complaint, but it can become increasingly severe and persistent. Hand dermatitis varies in severity. It may affect the backs of the hands, the palms or both sites. Often it starts as a mild intermittent complaint, but it can become increasingly severe and persistent. The affected skin initially becomes red and dry, then progresses to itchy papules and fluid-filled blisters, scaling, cracking, weeping and swelling.

Hand dermatitis can spread to affect other sites, particularly the forearms and feet. Hand dermatitis is diagnosed according to a pattern of symptoms. To treat hand dermatitis, you must avoid contact with the substance that irritates your skin. Your doctor can recommend ointments or lotions, usually topical corticosteroids, to relieve itching and irritation until the symptoms go away. Some people are more prone to hand dermatitis than others. They often have a personal or family history of atopic dermatitis, asthma or hay fever. Some have psoriasis, a common skin complaint best known for causing red scaly patches on elbows, knees and scalp. Topical corticosteroids are frequently part of the treatment plan. Numerous corticosteroids of various types and strengths are available, and dermatologists prescribe these as needed to accommodate the individual patient's needs. These medications are not suitable for every patient. It is extremely important that patients use these medications only as prescribed.

Causes of Hand dermatitis

Hand dermatitis can result from several different causes, including constitutional factors, contact with irritants and allergy. Some people are more prone to hand dermatitis than others. It is most often caused by detergents, certain types of metals, soaps, strong chemicals, and solvents that, either immediately or after repeated exposure, irritate the skin. These substances can break down the skin's natural barrier of protection. Other irritants include repeated friction, wind, and cold. immune system produces antibodies and other disease fighting cells in response to the allergen. The antibodies release chemicals that actually injure the surrounding cells and cause the physical symptoms of an allergic reaction.

Common causes and risk factors of Hand dermatitis:

  • An allergic reaction to a substance.
  • Contact with products which generally make skin dry such as solvents including turpentine, kerosene, household goods, gardening and food preparation.
  • Certain types of metals.
  • Certain types of fungal infections, such as tinea pedis.
  • Constant wetting and drying of hand and the increased contact with soaps and detergents.

Signs and Symptoms of Hand dermatitis

The symptoms of hand dermatitis can range from a mild, itchy rash to severe itching, swelling, and blistering. Contact with a poisonous plant causes blistering and weeping, while other types of allergic contact dermatitis may cause a chronic skin rash. The affected skin initially becomes red and dry, then progresses to itchy papules and fluid-filled vesicles, scaling, cracking, weeping and swelling. Atopic hand dermatitis also causes a chronic rash. When hand dermatitis is caused by a fungal infection, the symptoms include itchy blisters along the sides of the fingers.

Sign and symptoms may include the following :

  • Pustules, crusting and pain .
  • Blister may be present.
  • The skin of affected areas are usually much thicker than unaffected skin.
  • Itching and redness.
  • The irritation appears under a ring if caused by metals.

Treatment for Hand dermatitis

To treat hand dermatitis, you must avoid contact with the substance that irritates your skin. Your doctor can recommend ointments or lotions, usually topical corticosteroids, to relieve itching and irritation until the symptoms go away. With careful management, hand dermatitis usually recovers completely. A few days off work may be helpful. A thin smear of a thick barrier cream should be applied to all affected areas before work, and reapplied after washing and whenever the skin dries out. Your doctor will prescribe topical steroids to reduce inflammation. These come in various strengths and should only be applied to areas of active dermatitis once or twice daily. Generally a potent topical steroid is used for several weeks.

Treatment may include:

  • Use vinyl gloves to protect hands, which are less allergic than rubber gloves.
  • A thick barrier cream should be applied to all affected areas before work and reapplied after washing and whenever the skin dries out.
  • Cortisone ointments are generally used to treat severe cases of hand dermatitis.
  • Topical steroids and oral or topical antibiotics are the common medicine that are generally prescribed.
  • Apply moisturizers after washing, ointments that are clear and sticky seem to work the best but may not be practical, try using a skin protectant with petrolatum or silicone, E.g. Vaseline, Prevex.