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Hand Dermatitis - Symptoms and Treatment

Hand dermatitis is an inflammation of the skin on the hands that occurs when the hand touches a substance that is an irritant or triggers an allergic reaction. In colored skin this may be more purple than red or even may a deepening of the skin colour. When hands are affected, there may be small blisters along the sides of the fingers. The hands may become dry and painful with splitting and cracking on the palms or around the fingers. Hand dermatitis can spread to other sites,mainly the forearms and feet. This disease is commonly found in people involved in the work of catering, cleaning, health care and mechanical work. People having a skin which is not tough enough are more prone to dermatitis. People suffering from hand dermatitis may have dermatitis elsewhere and their blood relatives might also be suffering from it. Although one may not be having a tough skin but treatments are available to cure it. Frequent immersion of hands in water is the most common factor which leads to dermatitis. The problem becomes more intense if the skin gets exposed to solvents and detergents as they strip the skin of its natural protective layer.

Hand Dermatitis is basically a skin disease typical to youth, but Hand Dermatitis may occur to the people at any age. Hand dermatitis varies in severity. It may affect the backs of the hands, the palms or both sites. Bacterial infection can result in pustules, crusting and pain. Longstanding dermatitis at the ends of the fingers may result in deformed nails. Hand dermatitis can spread to affect other sites, particularly the forearms and feet. Determine whether the hand eczema is caused by endogenous or exogenous factors by analyzing patient history, close relatives, previous dermatitis, careful inquiry as to the nature of their work, substances encountered at work, and relationship of the dermatitis to vacation periods. Patch testing is the only scientific ‘proof' that a contactant is a dermatitis-producing allergen in a particular case. Dermatitis limited to the palms is often a sign of endogenous factors. Suspect endogenous causes if the dermatitis on the palms is symmetric. External irritants or allergens are more likely to penetrate the dorsal skin areas and therefore sign exogenous factors are likely in play. Many people are fortunate enough to have “tough” skin but, unfortunately, some people have skin that is easily damaged and thus, more susceptible to dermatitis. Those with hand dermatitis often have dermatitis elsewhere, and frequently blood relatives have hand dermatitis. You may not be able to toughen your skin, but there is an effective treatment to heal your dermatitis. 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. They may have discoid eczema. Some have psoriasis, a common skin complaint best known for causing red scaly patches on elbows, knees and scalp.

Causes of Hand Dermatitis

Common Causes of Hand Dermatitis :

  • Cold weather causing low humidity and drying out make Hand dermatitis worse.
  • Hand dermatitis may be caused by contact with an irritant or an allergic reaction to a substance.
  • Contact with products which generally make skin dry such as solvents including turpentine, kerosene , petrol , household goods, gardening and food preparation may also factors of development of the disease.
  • Getting run down, tired and under stress will make dermatitis worse.

Symptoms of Hand Dermatitis

Some common Symptoms of Hand Dermatitis :

  • Itching.
  • Redness.
  • Swelling.
  • Blistering.
  • Fever.

Treatment of Hand Dermatitis

  • Cortisone ointments are generally used to treat severe cases of hand dermatitis.
  • Use emollients frequently. A thick barrier cream should be applied to all affected areas before work and reapplied after washing and whenever the skin dries out.
  • Where possible, avoid wet-work and contact with irritants.
  • This may also be used for the treatment of severe cases of Hand dermatitis.
  • Prescribed medicines and lubricants should be used. Topical steroids and oral or topical antibiotics are the common medicine that are generally prescribed.
  • Use vinyl gloves to protect hands, which are less allergic than rubber gloves. Always make sure the gloves are scrupulously clean inside.
  • If your dermatitis is infected, your doctor will prescribe a topical or oral antibiotic such as flucloxacillin for about a week.








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