Diagnosis of eczema involves a number of tests and examinations, such as:
Patterns in medical history. Your doctor will ask about the different types of food you eat and the places you go to. These can help them identify possible eczema triggers.
Skin and blood tests. Tests such as buccal swabs, skin biopsies, and blood tests can give clues about the allergens that you may be reacting to.
Urticaria, a.k.a. hives, is a skin allergy that comes with the development of red or flesh-colored wheals on the skin. The two main types of urticaria are acute or chronic hives. Acute urticaria is when the wheals appear and disappear on the skin for short periods of time, while chronic urticaria is when hives that stay on the skin for more than six weeks.
Doctors are unsure about why some cases of urticaria can last for just a few hours, while some last for months. However, research has shown that urticaria is a result of the immune system’s response to a particular allergen. Other triggers of a hives flare-up are the scratching, alcohol, heat or sunlight, stress, exercise, and certain pain medications.
Hives are different from insect bites, although they are similar in appearance. You’ll be able to distinguish a simple insect bite from hives if you are also experiencing the following symptoms:
- Wheals that are red or the same color as your skin on anywhere in the body. These can move around different parts of the skin, change shape, or even re-occur.
- Wheals that are itchy.
One way to check if a bump or patch of skin is from hives is to see if that spot of skin ‘blanches.’ To do this, press the center of the spot. If it turns white, then it’s most probably urticaria.
A doctor will be able to spot a case of hives usually based on appearance alone. However, it can be tricky to determine the exact cause of flare-ups. Your doctor or allergist may examine your medical history, the types of food you usually eat, and the places your house and workplace are located. Skin swabs can also help determine the causes of flare-ups.